07/23/2002 11:00PM

Haskell loses a second star, Sunday Break


OCEANPORT, N.J. - With Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner War Emblem out of the Grade 1 Haskell, the race took yet another blow Wednesday when trainer Neil Drysdale reported that Sunday Break would not be able to make the Aug. 4 race because of a leg injury.

Drysdale told Monmouth Park officials that Sunday Break, third in the Belmont Stakes, aggravated the stifle - a joint in the upper part of the rear leg - during the Belmont while slipping on the final turn, and reaggravated it in a workout a few days ago. Drysdale said Sunday Break would be given 30 days off before being put back in training.

With the defection of two of the top horses for the $1 million Haskell, the definite starters remain Came Home, Magic Weisner, and Puck. With two of the leading horses out, however, the field could gain some horses that may not have been put in against War Emblem.

Trainer Beau Greely said Like a Hero, second in Hollywood Park's Swaps to Came Home, is now under serious consideration for the race. Greely said he would make a decision Friday or Saturday whether to come east for the race.

"We're definitely considering the race," Greely said from California. "The Travers is the main goal for this horse, so if we decide to come, we could just ship to Saratoga from Monmouth. It looks like it will be a small field, although it's shaping up to be a good field."

Greely said he is probably leaning 60 percent toward coming to the Haskell. Like a Hero, who ran seventh in the Belmont Stakes, worked out for the first time since the Swaps on Wednesday. Greely said he clocked him in 37.40 seconds for three furlongs and galloping out four furlongs in 50 seconds flat.

"He went beautifully, real easy," Greely said. "It was his first work since the Swaps and that race didn't seem to take much out of him."

Easyfromthegitgo, winner of the Iowa Derby, was under consideration for the race but trainer Steve Asmussen said Wednesday he would not run. Track officials listed Nothing Flat and Mr. Mellon as probables, although Nothing Flat is more likely for the Jim Dandy at Saratoga the same day.

Well worth the claiming price

Trainer Jason Servis said that after watching Tempest Fugit in the Aqueduct paddock on April 5 when he was in for a $75,000 tag, he ran to the claim box. Servis and owner Dennis Drazin spotted the 5-year-old Tempest Fugit before the race, and nobody else submitted a claim slip. Their find has turned out golden as Tempest Fugit is set for his biggest start for his new connections Saturday in the Grade 3, $100,000 Salvator Mile.

Tempest Fugit had run third in the Grade 3 Aqueduct Handicap on Jan. 19 and third in a money allowance before being put in for a tag. In the race, Tempest Fugit was sent off as a 3-5 favorite and won by nearly five lengths. Since being claimed off trainer Carlos Martin, Tempest Fugit has run second in the Frisk Me Now Stakes here May 26 and then won the off-the-turf $100,000 Oceanport Handicap on June 15.

He has earned $70,000 since being claimed. A solid performance in the Salvator would enable him to surpass his purchase price.

Servis, who is in his first year as an individual trainer, has a keen eye for claiming horses and Tempest Fugit is just one example. Servis said he looks for a specific class of horses when claiming new additions to his barn.

"I'm into the older class horses that have made the money," Servis said. "These horses are proven."

Tempest Fugit is the star of Servis's barn and gave Servis his first stakes win in the Oceanport Handicap. The Salvator will be Servis's first graded stakes starter and a win by Tempest Fugit would be one more addition to a great rookie year for Servis.

The Salvator should draw a solid field of six or seven handicap horses. Expected for the race are Cat's at Home, Express Tour, First Lieutenant, Sea of Tranquility, and Gerosa.

* The top two finishers in the $50,000 Tyro Stakes, Farno and Down Play, will return in the Grade 3, $100,000 Sapling on Aug. 10. Tracy Imbusch, assistant trainer to Frank Generazio, said Farno, who won his maiden in the Tyro by a nose over Down Play, came out of the race in great condition.