07/18/2001 11:00PM

Image Maker hurt again


Image Maker's return to the races in Sunday's $75,000-added Evan Shipman Handicap at Belmont Park has been called off.

Trainer Jim Bond said that Image Maker, a 4-year-old New York-bred, reaggravated an injury to his left foreleg that has kept him away from the races since last year's Albany Handicap at Saratoga on Aug. 31.

Image Maker won the first two-thirds of the 2000 Big Apple Triple, the Mike Lee and New York Derby. He was chasing a $250,000 bonus tied to the series for his owner, James Edwards, when he finished fourth as the favorite in the Albany Handicap, the final leg.

The colt was training well over Saratoga's Oklahoma training track this summer for Bond, who said Image Maker reinjured himself in a mile work in 1:43.40, breezing, on Sunday.

"I sent the X-rays to Cornell for evaluation," Bond said Thursday from his Saratoga barn. "It looks like it's the same thing from before when he he had a start of a hairline fracture in his cannon [bone] area. He's going to be out for awhile.

"It's a real blow," Bond added. "We were very excited about getting him back. This is really the mean part of the game."

The restricted Evan Shipman at 1 1/16 miles on the main track is expected to attract Toddler (123 pounds), No Bad Habits (116), Duplicitous (115), Fourth and Six (115), and Pooksa Hill (115). Pulled Out (113) is also possible.

Training track on mend from worms

The army worms that invaded Saratoga's turf course on the Oklahoma training track earlier this month most likely will curtail training on the grass until at least July 30, according to Don Orlando, the New York Racing Association's superintendent.

The Oklahoma turf was treated with an insecticide to kill an infestation of army worms, who were eating the turf. Now, Orlando and his crew are working on the course to regrow the grass.

Orlando said he had hoped to reopen the course for training next Wednesday, the first day of the 36-day Saratoga meet.

"I don't think we'll make it," Orlando said. "Things are starting to get better and the grass is starting to green up. I want everything to be covered [with new grass] before we open. Being patient will help."

Orlando said there is the danger that eggs were laid below the surface of the grass and a new round of army worms will emerge.

"Hopefully, there isn't another group," Orlando said.

The army worms affected the racing turf courses to a far lesser degree, and those courses are scheduled to open at the start of the meet.

Seeking the Money back in Sanford

Seeking the Money, a 7 3/4-length winner of a 2-year-old New York-bred maiden race July 11, will run back in Thursday's $100,000-added Sanford Stakes at Saratoga.

Mike Hushion trains Seeking the Money for Barry Schwartz, NYRA's chairman of the board and CEO.

Hushion said they had planned on the six-furlong Sanford, a Grade 2, even before Seeking the Money made his first start. "He's pretty precocious," Hushion said. "He was the least like a baby of all our 2-year-olds."