07/17/2002 11:00PM

Illness to keep Wish It Were out of Saratoga's Test


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Wish It Were, one of the top 3-year-old fillies stabled at Monmouth, was scheduled to face her biggest career test in the Grade 1 Test at Saratoga next Saturday. But trainer Tim Hills said Thursday she will skip the race after coming down with a lung infection after a workout Thursday morning.

Wish It Were, who won the $50,000 Dearly Precious Stakes June 30, worked a solid five furlongs in 1:01.40. But after being scoped, Wish It Were was found to have a mild lung infection.

"This was the work that was supposed to tell us if we she should run her," Hills said. "She worked well, but because of the lung infection we'll have to pass the Test."

Wish It Were has three wins and one second in her career. She won her maiden race at The Meadowlands in November, starting a three-race winning streak that continued through the Dearly Precious. In an allowance win here June 8, she covered six furlongs in a quick 1:09.95. In the Dearly Precious, her first stakes appearance, she went the same distance in 1:09.68.

There are few stakes for 3-year-old filly sprinters coming up, but Hills said Wish It Were would be pointed for the seven-furlong Duchess Stakes at Woodbine Aug. 10.

Sleeter and Jersey-breds doing fine

Trainer Kevin Sleeter said The Meadowlands is usually his stable's best meet. But it would be fair to say that his meet at Monmouth has eclipsed his Big M success.

Sleeter, through Thursday, is in fifth place in the trainer standings with nine wins from only 37 starts. Sleeter is having his best meet at Monmouth, already outdoing his eight- and seven-win meets of the last two years. Sleeter's barn is almost entirely made up of Jersey-breds, homebreds owned by the Sleeter family and raced under the ownership name of his father, Gerald Sleeter.

With two wins last weekend, and with fresh horses ready to run, Sleeter has the potential to finish in the top five of the standings for the first time.

The two standouts from the barn - Silver Suds and Summer Swing - have accounted for four of Sleeter's wins. Both picked up their second wins of the meet this weekend. Silver Suds, the only horse that's not a statebred in the barn, won his second race of the meet on Saturday. A $37,000 Timonium yearling purchase of Kathleen Willier in October 2000, Silver Suds has been first or second in five starts this meet. Sleeter said he will be given time off before returning in stakes company.

Summer Swing, a 5-year-old, won his second stakes of the meet on Sunday in the $50,000 Bernie Dowd Handicap. He previously won the John J. Reilly Handicap here opening weekend. On Sunday, he came charging home six wide and drew off to win by 2 1/2 lengths. Summer Swing earned a career-best 96 Beyer Speed Figure in the race.

"He loves to be wide," Sleeter said, "even though it makes me pretty nervous."

Lunar Bounty tries turf

Lunar Bounty, trained by Ronny Werner, won the Grade 2 Bashford Manor at Churchill Downs last year as a 2-year-old after winning his maiden, but is winless in five starts since then. On Saturday, he will try turf for the first time in the five-furlong $50,000 Anderson Fowler Stakes for 3-year-olds.

The Anderson Fowler, carded as the ninth race, drew a field of 11.

Lunar Bounty competed in stakes company for four races after the Bashford Manor, before being dropped in for a $50,000 tag July 6, his first start of the year. He is entered along with stablemate Driving Hennesy, who also tries the turf for the first time. Werner won the previous 3-year-old turf sprint, the Crank It Up Stakes, with Runaway Choice.

The second- through fourth-place finishers of the $50,000 Crank It Up return on Saturday. Lord Abounding has two wins in three turf sprints for trainer Allen Iwinski, and after running second in the Crank It Up, he returned with a victory in an allowance at Colonial Downs June 29.

Rideouts Patton returns

Rideouts Patton broke through for a career-best 101 Beyer Speed Figure in the Wolf Hill Stakes at five furlongs on the turf June 1, and he seemed primed for more stakes victories this meet.

But two weeks after the race, Rideouts Patton, a turf sprinting specialist with two stakes wins at Monmouth, was spooked in his stall, trainer Tim Hills said, and suffered a quarter crack on his hoof. Now, with the injury healed, Rideouts Patton returns in a three-other-than allowance on Sunday.

Rideouts Patton showed no residual effects of the injury when he breezed four furlongs on a firm turf course on Thursday in 49.60, the best of seven that morning.

"He worked really well and that's nice to see," Hills said. "It took us forever to get [the quarter crack] healed."