08/19/2007 11:00PM

Chief's Lake chases New York triple


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Trainer Steve Asmussen may still win a Triple Crown this year after all.

While Preakness winner Curlin couldn't quite pull off racing's most coveted hat trick after finishing third in the Kentucky Derby and second in the Belmont Stakes, Asmussen finds himself with the opportunity to win the Big Apple Triple for 3-year-old New York-breds if Chief's Lake can add Wednesday's $150,000 Albany Stakes to his previous victories in the Mike Lee and New York Derby.

Chief's Lake rallied to a 3 1/4-length triumph in the seven-furlong Mike Lee. He was beaten a nose by Berry Bound in the 1 1/16-mile New York Derby at Finger Lakes, but was elevated to first after the stewards disqualified Berry Bound for causing interference through the stretch.

Chief's Lake will stretch to 1 1/8 miles for the first time in the Albany, although it's not the distance that concerns Asmussen, who trains the gelded son of Yonaguska for the Vinery Stables.

"The weight is the big issue here," said Asmussen. "Giving that much weight over a mile and one-eighth is my biggest hesitation."

Chief's Lake will carry 124 pounds in the Albany under Garrett Gomez, conceding three to nine pounds to his six rivals.

Stunt Man, second in the Mike Lee and third in the New York Derby, will return to the main track after finishing a late-striding third over a yielding turf course in the New York Stallion Stakes on Aug. 8.

Doctor Freud also has experience at the distance, finishing fourth in a second-level allowance race going nine furlongs for trainer Todd Pletcher on July 26.

Capades: Rematch for Hush Dear quartet

Wednesday's card will also feature the $80,000 Capades Stakes for fillies and mares at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf.

The Capades reunites the first four finishers from the Hush Dear Stakes on July 26. Truly Blushed, Serena's Cat, Taletobetold, and Lemon Drop Gal, first through fourth in the Hush Dear, are among a well-matched field that also includes the red-hot Smart and Fancy and Grade 2 winner Stormy Kiss.

* Argentina, second behind My Typhoon in the Grade 1 Diana on July 28, returns to the allowance ranks to face a field that includes the promising Wingspan in Wednesday's third race, a $70,000 optional claiming event scheduled for 1 1/8 miles on the turf.