03/07/2005 12:00AM

Flint said 'good buy'

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Runway Model, here winning the Alcibiades, had a bullet workout over the weekend that had her trainer, Bernie Flint, saying, "I wish the Kentucky Oaks would be two weeks from now."

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Bernie Flint could pull a Kentucky Derby-Kentucky Oaks double of sorts the first week of May. Flint trains the Oaklawn-based Runway Model, a top candidate for the Oaks, and he recommended the purchase of Sun King, who is among the leading candidates for the Kentucky Derby.

Both horses finished third in their respective Breeders' Cup championship races in October.

Flint, who often advises clients at auctions, said he selected Sun King out of the January Keeneland sale in 2003 for Tracy Farmer. Nick Zito trains the colt, who caused a stir with his impressive allowance win in his seasonal debut at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 26.

Flint was drawn to Sun King, whom Farmer purchased for $400,000, largely because of his close affiliation with the colt's female family. Sun King's dam, Clever But Costly, also produced Clever Bertie.

Clever Bertie is the dam of one of Flint's most successful trainees, Hurricane Bertie, a Grade 2 winner of $940,042. Flint's son, Steve, trained Allamerican Bertie, a Grade 2 winner of $799,235 who is also out of Clever Bertie.

As a result of the success of the family, Bernie Flint had always kept close tabs on Clever But Costly, who also is the dam of Traitor, a Grade 1 winner of $267,556, and Ocean Drive, a Grade 3 winner of $803,986.

"Sun King was the best-looking foal out of that mare," said Flint. "He's a grand-looking individual. He has impeccable looks and pedigree. If everything goes right, Sun King will win the Kentucky Derby.

"There's heart in the family. Every one of them was a fighter."

Clever Bertie overcame chronic EPM, or equine protozoal myeloencephalitis, an infection of the central nervous system, to become a top producer, and Flint said her latest success story is a yearling by Forestry who brought $1.9 million at Keeneland in September.

Clever Bertie produced Hurricane Bertie on a breeding to Storm Boot, who stood for $1,000 at the time. Flint noted that the mating was recommended by owner Bert Klein's chauffeur, Gerald Becker.

'Model' ready for Fair Grounds Oaks

Runway Model worked at Oaklawn on Saturday in preparation for Saturday's Grade 2, $300,000 Fair Grounds Oaks, which will be her 3-year-old debut. She went five furlongs in a bullet 1:00.01 and galloped out six furlongs on 1:12.88.

"It was a very big work," said Flint. "I wish the Kentucky Oaks would be two weeks from now."

Flint said Runway Model was to travel to New Orleans on Tuesday. Last year, she won the Grade 2 Alcibiades and the Grade 2 Golden Rod. She races for Naveed Chowhan, who purchased her at auction on Flint's advice for $260,000. Runway Model has earned $580,598.

Jockey Jeremy Rose worked Runway Model, and later in the afternoon won the $50,000 Mountain Valley on Afleet Alex. Both horses were runners-up for 2-year-old champion of their divisions in 2004.

Preps for million-dollar Saturday

Island Sand worked five furlongs in 1:01.20 on Sunday in preparation for the Grade 3, $175,000 Azeri Breeders' Cup at Oaklawn on Saturday.

"It was a good work," said Larry Jones, who trains Island Sand. "She came home the last eighth in 11 and four."

The Azeri is a prep for the Grade 1, $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap on April 9. The Apple Blossom will share a card with the Grade 2, $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap.

Jones said Island Sand, a Grade 1 winner, will be ridden by Terry Thompson. Jones said he is also considering starting Grade 2 winner Josh's Madelyn in the Azeri.

Others considered probable for the 1 1/16-mile race are Casual Attitude, winner of the $50,000 Pippin, and Injustice. Possibles include Grade 2 winner La Reason and Fencelineneighbor, runner-up in the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Distaff.

Purge, who last year finished second to Smarty Jones in the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn before going on to win the Grade 2, $500,000 Jim Dandy, is being pointed for the Grade 3, $125,000 Razorback Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on Sunday.

The field is also expected to include Absent Friend, Added Edge, Clays Awesome, Gigawatt, River Mountain Rd., Separato, and Witt Ante. Possibles include Intelligent Male and Snorter.

The Razorback is a prep for the Oaklawn Handicap.

Holthus looking at stakes

Level Playingfield, who won a recent six-furlong allowance while earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 100, will probably make his next start in the $50,000 Hot Springs at Oaklawn on March 26, said his trainer, Bob Holthus.

"He ran a big race," said Holthus.

As for the female sprinters in the barn, Holthus said Saltwater Runner, third in the $50,000 Spring Fever, is being pointed for the $50,000 Carousel on April 2. She races for Lewis Lakin, who also owns top 3-year-old Greater Good.

* Tickets remain available for the Arkansas Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association's annual dinner and dance. It will be held at the Austin Hotel in Hot Springs on Saturday.