08/19/2003 12:00AM

Distance can help 'Giant' equal score


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Vinemeister and Jersey Giant meet for the second time in Saturday's Grade 3, $200,000 Philip H. Iselin Breeders' Cup Handicap at Monmouth Park.

Vinemeister owns the first score, besting Jersey Giant by three-quarters of a length in Monmouth's Grade 3 Salvator Mile on July 26.

The rematch in the Iselin comes at 1 1/8 miles and the extra furlong could be an issue for Vinemeister.

"I'm concerned about the extra eighth of mile," trainer Alan Seewald said. "Now is the time to see if he's ready to move up to the next level."

More ground can only help Jersey Giant, according to trainer Jim Ryerson.

Other likely Iselin runners include recent Grade 3 winners Runspastum and Tenpins.

Private Lap and Aeneas are also expected.

Possible entrants include Saarland, Regal Sanction, Sherpa Guide, and Thunder Blitz.

September purses set

The agreement to guarantee $250,000 in daily purses for the September portion of the Monmouth meet cleared the final hurdle last week when the board of the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association approved the deal.

The New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority, which owns Monmouth and The Meadowlands Racetrack, guaranteed purses of $300,000 a day for the traditional Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day season.

"This allows us to run a respectable meet without dropping racing days," said Dennis Drazin, the attorney for the NJTHA.

New Yorkers prominent in feature

New York-based trainers Gary Sciacca, Christophe Clement, and Randy Schulhofer have a strong presence in Thursday's featured $37,000 allowance race for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on turf.

Clement, who won Sunday's Grade 3, $100,000 Matchmaker Handicap at Monmouth with Volga, sends out the Irish-bred Sun Seasons. The 4-year-old filly will be making her fourth North American start, with a fourth-place finish in a Belmont Park allowance her best showing. Leading rider Joe Bravo has the mount.

Schulhofer returns with Montefiore, who won her maiden at Monmouth in her last start.

Sciacca ran Evvy on the dirt at Monmouth in her last outing and she was beaten more than 50 lengths. She can improve given the return to turf.