05/08/2002 11:00PM

Giant killer is taking aim

Email

ELMONT, N.Y. - Xtra Heat, the defending 3-year-old filly champion, may face her toughest rival to date when she comes to New York for Sunday's $150,000 Genuine Risk Handicap at Belmont Park: Allen Jerkens.

Jerkens, the Hall of Fame trainer renowned for upsetting some of the great horses in the sport, will send out Shine Again against Xtra Heat in the six-furlong Genuine Risk.

Shine Again has already posted several upsets in her career. In March 2001, Shine Again won a $100,000 allowance race at Gulfstream Park at odds of 25-1. Last Aug. 26, Shine Again upset 1-2 favorite Dream Supreme in the Grade 1 Ballerina Handicap at Saratoga. She defeated Dream Supreme again at odds of 9-2 in the Grade 2 First Flight Handicap.

The First Flight came at Belmont Park, where Shine Again is 2-3-1 from six starts.

In her lone start since the First Flight, Shine Again finished last as the 8-5 favorite in the Hurricane Bertie Stakes at Gulfstream Park. Jerkens said that performance came with an excuse.

"She bled when they scoped her," Jerkens said. "She had worked really good for the race. There was no reason for her to get tired - I know that."

Jerkens said Shine Again will run on Lasix for the first time in the Genuine Risk, and at 117 pounds she will be in receipt of nine pounds from Xtra Heat.

Thursday, Shine Again breezed a half-mile in 50.25 seconds at Belmont. The dogs, or traffic cones that protect the inside part of the track, were up well away from the rail.

"She would have gone in 47 had the dogs not been up," Jerkens said.

Xtra Heat will be making her first start since running third in the Dubai Golden Shaheen at Nad Al Sheba in Dubai March 23. So, is this the right time to take on Xtra Heat?

"You're always eligible to get beat no matter who you run against," Jerkens said. "She's got a lot of weight."

Post positions for the Grade 2 Genuine Risk were to be drawn Friday. The field, with riders and weights, is expected to be Xtra Heat (Harry Vega, 126), Shine Again (Jean-Luc Samyn, 117), Dat You Miz Blue (Edgar Prado, 116), La Galerie (Richard Migliore, 114), Pleasant County (John Velazquez, 112), and Home on the Hill (Paul Toscano, 111).

Forbidden Apple readies for return

Forbidden Apple, the runner-up in last year's Breeders' Cup Mile, worked five furlongs in 1:00.45 over Belmont's turf course Thursday, the fastest of nine workouts at the distance.

Trainer Christophe Clement was pleased with the move and said he was considering either the $200,000 Dixie Stakes at Pimlico on May 18 or the $400,000 Manhattan Handicap here on June 8 for Forbidden Apple.

Last year, Forbidden Apple came back off a six-month layoff to win the Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap. Forbidden Apple is 7-2-1 from 12 starts over Belmont's turf course.

Blazing Fury, who finished fourth in last year's Breeders' Cup Turf as a 3-year-old, worked six furlongs Thursday morning in 1:17.02 over Belmont's turf. He is pointing to the Manhattan with a possible prep before then.

Bailey perfect since the Derby

Hall of Fame rider Jerry Bailey has won with his first four mounts of the Belmont meeting, going 2 for 2 on both Wednesday and Thursday. Add his victory aboard Voodoo Dancer in Sunday's Beaugay Handicap at Aqueduct, and Bailey is 5 for 5 since returning to New York.

Weaker by three

Thursday's preliminary allowance race for 3-year-olds held so much promise when entries came out. But Thunderello, Draw Play, and Pinch Hitter all were scratched, weakening the field. Magic and Bird won the race as the even-money choice.

Thunderello was actually scratched on Wednesday when trainer Scott Lake noticed the horse had re-injured a suspensory ligament that sidelined him last fall.

Thursday morning, Draw Play, who had beaten Derby runner-up Proud Citizen last year, was found to have a quarter crack in his right front foot.

"It's sickening," trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. said. "He could have run, but it probably would not have been the right thing to do for his future. I don't want to run any horse that's not 100 percent."

Trainer John Terranova said he scratched Pinch Hitter because of the threat of rain. While it did rain early in the day, most of the showers held off and all nine races were run over a fast track.

"They were saying it was going to rain, and I didn't want to get stuck late and have the track get heavy and wet on us," Terranova said. "He doesn't like a wet track at all."