12/06/2004 12:00AM

Classic Endeavor on a roll


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - There is good news for trainers pointing their horses to the next two New York stakes races in the handicap division: Classic Endeavor won't be in them.

After adding Saturday's Queens County Handicap to his victory in last month's Stuyvesant Handicap, Classic Endeavor will head to Florida, where he will run next in the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 29. The Sunshine Millions pits Florida-breds versus California-breds. Classic Endeavor is a Florida-bred son of Silver Buck who has now won five consecutive races.

"I hate to take him out of Aqueduct because he loves it there, but the money makes it the thing to do," trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. said Monday from the Palm Meadows training center in Florida, where many of his better horses are stabled.

Classic Endeavor has enjoyed a renaissance of sorts since Dutrow claimed him for $50,000 from Scott Lake, who won two races with him after claiming him for $35,000. Under Dutrow, Classic Endeavor has gone 3 for 3, including two stakes wins.

Dutrow said the key to Classic Endeavor's resurgence was getting his hind end repaired. In his first start for Dutrow, Classic Endeavor won an optional claiming race on Sept. 29 at Belmont, but drifted out badly in the stretch.

Dutrow said veterinarian Steve Allday treated the horse for some gluteal muscle tears, and the horse has responded with back-to-back Beyer Speed Figures of 104.

"Dr. Allday found some gluteal muscle tears he had to treat, and I knew he was going to be so much better," Dutrow said. "That's where a horse gets his power. I was feeling very good about his chances going into both races, and I said it beforehand. When they get their hind end going and they're training good in the morning, it'll show in the afternoon."

Classic Endeavor, who won the 2003 Excelsior Breeders' Cup when he was trained by Scott Schwartz, has now earned $715,153 with 16 wins from 56 starts.

Sugar Punch out of Garland of Roses

Sugar Punch, also from the Dutrow barn, was declared out of Saturday's $75,000 Garland of Roses Handicap after a chip was found in her right knee. Dutrow said Sugar Punch would have surgery in the coming weeks and would most likely be out until spring.

Sugar Punch, a 3-year-old daughter of K.O. Punch, has won all six of her starts this year, including a trio of New York-bred stakes. Most recently, Sugar Punch won the Iroquois Handicap on New York Showcase Day.

"Hopefully, she can come back as good as ever," Dutrow said.

Sugar Punch's defection figures to be welcome news for the connections of the other 13 fillies and mares nominated to the six-furlong Garland of Roses. Fillies such as Cologny, Ebony Breeze, Sensibly Chic, Travelator, and possibly Forest Music are likely to start.

Well Fancied has a breeze

Well Fancied, out since April with a knee injury, breezed three furlongs in 39.60 seconds Monday morning at Palm Meadows. It was his first breeze since finishing eighth of nine in the Grade 1 Carter Handicap in April.

Before the Carter, Well Fancied won the Grade 2 General George Handicap in Maryland and the Toboggan Handicap at Aqueduct in March.

"He went good. He was reaching out really good," Dutrow said. "I could almost guarantee to anyone that he'd make it back to the level he was at. Things look good at this point."

Snake Mountain eyes Aqueduct 'Cap

Jimmy Jerkens should be happy to hear that Classic Endeavor is leaving town. Jerkens trains Snake Mountain, who will be pointed to the Grade 3, $100,000 Aqueduct Handicap here on Jan. 22.

Snake Mountain, who won the 2003 Aqueduct, made it 5 for 5 over the inner track with a 2 1/4-length score in a mile-and-70-yard allowance race last Friday. Snake Mountain earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 100 for the effort, in which he beat Song of the Sword.

Snake Mountain has been battling foot problems for more than a year, but they seem to be behind him, according to assistant trainer Steven Moyer. Snake Mountain wore regular shoes on Friday for the first time in a long time. He had been running with aluminum pads and training in egg bar shoes. He ran his previous race in glue-on shoes.

"It's the first time since his comeback that we had his feet the way we wanted them," Moyer said. "He should have a nice winter up here."

Two winters ago, Snake Mountain won the Queens County, Aqueduct, and Stymie before finishing fourth behind Classic Endeavor in the Excelsior.

Certifiably Crazy headed to Calder

Certifiably Crazy, the New York-bred who finished a second by a nose behind Dreadnaught in the Red Smith last month at Aqueduct, will make his next start in the Grade 2, $200,000 W.L. McKnight Handicap at Calder on Dec. 18.

On Sunday, Certifiably Crazy worked five furlongs in 1:01.76 over the Belmont Park training track. Trainer John DeStefano said Certifiably Crazy would work again at Belmont next week, before being flown to Florida two days before the race.

Before finishing second in the Red Smith, Certifiably Crazy finished second in both the Mohawk and Ashley T. Cole handicaps for New York-breds.