07/22/2002 12:00AM

Came Home comes east for Haskell


OCEANPORT, N.J. - No horse has won the Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park and then gone to Monmouth Park to win the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational. Although history will be weighing against him, Came Home will try to break the schneid.

Trainer Paco Gonzalez confirmed Sunday that Came Home, winner of the Grade 2 Swaps on July 14, will return off a three-week layoff to face War Emblem in the $1 million Haskell here on Aug. 5. Gonzalez said Came Home would probably ship three days before the race.

"He's doing very good," Gonzalez said from his Santa Anita barn. "I don't think his last race took much out of him. Mike [Smith] just hand rode him."

In the Swaps, Smith rode Came Home for the first time, replacing retired jockey Chris McCarron. Came Home led gate to wire and his front-running style should fit well over the Monmouth strip. Gonzalez said Smith would ride Came Home in the Haskell, run at nine furlongs. Came Home was assigned 122 pounds for the Haskell, two fewer than the 124 given to highweight War Emblem.

Gonzalez saddled Free House to a third-place finish in the 1997 Haskell off his victory in the Swaps. Since 1996, Swaps winners have run third twice and second twice.

Came Home has only two losses in his career - in the Kentucky Derby and the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Since running sixth in the Derby, Came Home has won the Affirmed Handicap and the Swaps.

Magic Weisner likely for Haskell

The field for the Haskell is shaping up as a compact one, but certainly a select one. On Sunday, trainer Nancy Alberts said Magic Weisner came out of his hard-fought victory in Saturday's Ohio Derby in good condition and would be pointed to a start in the Haskell.

Alberts, who bred and owns Magic Weisner, said the Haskell was the main goal for Magic Weisner's next start after running fourth in the Belmont Stakes, but she decided to run him in the Grade 2, $300,000 Ohio Derby when that race came up light. It took every inch of the race for Magic Weisner to get by front-runner Wiseman's Ferry, though, as he just got up under Richard Migliore to catch the front-runner.

Magic Weisner laid much closer to the pace in the Ohio Derby than he had in his previous starts, racing no more than two lengths in second off the pacesetter. Alberts said that was the plan after watching the previous races.

"Every long race was being won by front-runners," Alberts said from Maryland, after driving back from Ohio with Magic Weisner. "The speed was really holding. I said to Richard, 'You can't let this horse get too far back.' I was so impressed with his finish."

Alberts said she would make sure to see Magic Weisner, second in the Preakness Stakes to War Emblem, came out of the race fine in the next few days before making a definite decision. He was assigned 118 pounds for the Haskell, which would be the third matchup between him and War Emblem.

Along with War Emblem, Came Home, and Magic Weisner, Puck (117 pounds) is the only other definite starter. Sunday Break (119) is also a strong possibility.

Miss Mary debuts for Kimmel

Miss Mary was a group winner in Argentina two years ago, and now as a 6-year-old mare, she makes her first start for trainer John Kimmel in Wednesday's featured eighth race.

The feature, an optional claiming allowance for fillies and mares at one mile and 70 yards, drew a field of eight.

When she first came to the U.S., Miss Mary was put on the turf without any success. But when an allowance race on the turf at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 24 was rained off, it proved to be a blessing in disguise. She ran second that day at 25-1 behind Quiet Lake, who ran in the Delaware Handicap last Sunday.

Miss Mary has been laid up since that race while being sent to Kimmel's barn, and has been training strongly at Monmouth. Kimmel excels with horses returning from extended layoffs if two to six months, winning 29 percent in that category.

Trainer Kevin Sleeter has been having a strong meet, and he will saddle the Jersey-bred Picnic Theme in the race. After running fourth in the Santo Lalomia Stakes for Jersey-breds June 15, she returned eight days later to romp by 10 lengths over a second-level statebred allowance field.

* Touring England, who ran third in the $500,000 Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs on July 13, will point for the $65,000 Lamplighter Stakes here Aug. 4, trainer Phil Oliver said.