06/21/2007 12:00AM

Corinthian works for Suburban


ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Jimmy Jerkens couldn't stop raving about Corinthian's last work prior to the colt's victory in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap. Of the sharp five-furlong drill in 58 seconds, Jerkens said, "I never had a horse do what he did."

On Thursday, Jerkens was looking for a different kind of work to get Corinthian ready for the $400,000 Suburban Handicap, a 1 1/4-mile race to be run June 30. Instead of a sharp, fast drill, Jerkens was looking for a stamina-building move as Corinthian went seven furlongs in 1:25.74 over the Belmont main track.

Belmont clockers timed Corinthian in fractions of 27.60 seconds, 51.40, and 1:14, meaning he got his last eighth in 11.74 seconds. While Jerkens wasn't raving about the move, he felt it served its purpose.

"I would have liked it a little more even, rather than going too slow then real fast, but it was good enough," Jerkens said.

Corinthian is expected to be one of four horses who will take on defending Suburban winner and reigning Horse of the Year Invasor in the Suburban. Also expected to run are Fairbanks and Harlington, both trained by Todd Pletcher, and Political Force. There were 16 horses nominated to the Suburban. Trainer Pat Kelly could enter either Evening Attire or Tasteyville.

Corinthian, a son of Pulpit, will attempt to become the first horse since In Excess in 1991 to win both the Met Mile and Suburban in the same year. Others to do it in the same year include Buckpasser (1967), Kelso (1961), and Tom Fool (1953).

Corinthian is proven at a route of ground, having finished first in four races at 1 1/8 miles or farther, including the Gulfstream Park Handicap at 1 3/16 miles in March. Still, Jerkens said he's not necessarily more comfortable at the longer distances.

"I can't really say that's the case," Jerkens said. "He won the Gulfstream Park Handicap, but it looked like he was getting caught."

Jerkens said he has the option of working Corinthian again next week if he chooses, though he has not yet decided if he will.

Meanwhile, Vitruvius, a 3-year-old half-brother to Corinthian who has won his first two starts, has returned to the work tab. On June 17, he breezed three furlongs in 37.09 seconds, his first breeze since mid-May. Vitruvius had been sidelined with a bad case of skin disease.

"He still looks like hell because it tore him up pretty good," Jerkens said.

Christmas Kid going back to turf

Christmas Kid, the Ashland winner who finished third in the Acorn, is headed back to the turf, Jerkens said. Christmas Kid will likely make her next start in the $200,000 Virginia Oaks at Colonial Downs on July 21.

Christmas Kid, a daughter of Lemon Drop Kid, has won 2 of 3 starts on the turf, including the Tropical Park Oaks. Since then, she has run four times on dirt, winning the Davona Dale and Ashland and finishing second in the Bonnie Miss. Jerkens termed Christmas Kid's finish in the Acorn, in which she was beaten 9 1/4 lengths by Cotton Blossom, "disappointing."

"Maybe she just wants to be a little more methodical in her races instead of chasing fast horses," Jerkens said. "She kind of got discouraged kind of early. The pace started picking up and she picked up with it and didn't gain, and she kind of lost interest."

Sir Greeley returns to Jerkens

Sir Greeley, last year's Westchester winner and the runner-up in several graded events, including the 2006 Metropolitan Handicap, has returned to Jerkens's barn after undergoing hind ankle surgery.

Sir Greeley is simply being ridden around the shed row and is expected to return to the track in the coming weeks. He could return to the races either late in the Saratoga meet or early in the Belmont fall season.

Sir Greeley has run second in four consecutive graded stakes, including the Hal's Hope and Deputy Minister Handicap this winter at Gulfstream.

Panty Raid may give turf a try

Panty Raid is another stakes winner on dirt who may be headed to the turf. The Black-Eyed Susan winner worked four furlongs in 50.80 seconds over the Belmont turf Sunday morning.

"She might be headed to the American Oaks," trainer Todd Pletcher said, referring to the $750,000 race at Hollywood Park on July 7. "She worked well on it."

Panty Raid is one of a bevy of 3-year-old filly stakes winners Pletcher has in his barn. Rags to Riches, the Belmont Stakes and Kentucky Oaks winner, is expected to work Sunday as she heads for the Coaching Club American Oaks on July 21. Cotton Blossom, the Acorn winner, is headed to the Delaware Oaks on July 14 while Octave, runner-up in the Kentucky Oaks, is slated to start in next Saturday's Mother Goose.

Levine's second string to Lee

Trainer Bruce Levine's top 3-year-old New York-bred, Bustin Stones, won't be ready to run in Sunday's Mike Lee Handicap. But Levine may still have the horse to beat in What a Tale.

What a Tale, a son of Tale of the Cat, won a New York-bred first-level allowance race by 7 3/4 lengths on May 19, his first start for Levine. What a Tale had previously been trained by Patrick Biancone.

Levine said Bustin Stones, undefeated in three starts, missed some training time due to a bruised foot and will be pointed to the Amsterdam Stakes at Saratoga on July 30.

Others pointing to the Mike Lee include Berry Bound, Chief's Lake, I'm a Numbers Guy, Indian Camp, and Dr. V's Magic.