03/06/2003 12:00AM

Hard to look beyond 'Mountain'


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Snake Mountain stands tall over six rivals in Saturday's $75,000-added Stymie Handicap at Aqueduct.

A winner of his last four starts, including three stakes, Snake Mountain will be a short-priced favorite in the ungraded Stymie, a 1 1/8-mile race. He is coupled with Iron Chancellor.

Ground Storm, who won the Stymie last year and was second to Snake Mountain in the Aqueduct Handicap on Jan. 18, wasn't entered because of a quarter crack he developed this week.

Snake Mountain, a 5-year-old son of A.P. Indy, carries 123 pounds as the highweight, three more than he carried when he won the Grade 3 Aqueduct by 7 1/2 lengths under a hand ride in his last start. Snake Mountain, owned by a partnership that includes his trainer, Jimmy Jerkens, took his game to a higher level last fall when he won his first stakes, the Grade 3 Stuyvesant. He followed with wins in two more Grade 3's, the Queens County and Aqueduct.

Mike Luzzi, who rode Snake Mountain for the first time in the Aqueduct, said one of the gelding's strengths is his ability to launch his move from the inside or the outside.

"He likes to get himself in position down the backside, like he did in his last race," Luzzi said. "He likes to sneak up on his own, and he did it on the inside last time and didn't mind."

Classic Endeavor, a winner of his last three starts, all on the inner track in allowance company, looks like the main speed and receives nine pounds from Snake Mountain.

Classic Endeavor won his last start on Feb. 2 by four lengths over Tempest Fugit, who returned to win the John B. Campbell at Laurel. Classic Endeavor also beat Ground Storm and Coyote Lakes in that classified allowance race.

Classic Endeavor received a 108 Beyer Figure for that win.

"As good as he is now, I don't know about the bounce theory," said Classic Endeavor's trainer, Scott Schwartz. "The 114 pounds is a break for him. I think this race is in his favor."

Apprentice Luis Chavez rides Classic Endeavor, but does so without the benefit of his five-pound allowance because it is a stakes. Classic Endeavor drew post 6.

Also in the field are My Man Ryan and My Request, who were entered in a Thursday allowance race that was canceled because of snow. My Man Ryan is coupled with Tom's Thunder, who was scratched from last Sunday's restricted Hollie Hughes. Country Only completes the field.

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