12/30/2003 1:00AM

Injured Snake Mountain forced to sidelines


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - , who dominated New York's handicap division last winter with three stakes wins over the inner track, has been taken out of training with a severe foot bruise that will force him to miss some of the races he won last year.

Snake Mountain has already missed the Queens County Handicap, and trainer Jimmy Jerkens said Tuesday that Snake Mountain would definitely miss the Aqueduct Handicap on Jan. 17. Depending on when Snake Mountain is able to resume training, he could possibly make the $75,000 Stymie Handicap on March 6. Last year, Snake Mountain won the Queens County, Aqueduct, and Stymie as part of a five-race win streak.

Snake Mountain is at the New Jersey Equine Clinic in central New Jersey, under the care of Dr. Scott Palmer. According to Jerkens, Snake Mountain has a deep-seated bruise in the inside quarter of his right hind foot.

"They located exactly where it is; they're just cutting away where they can get it to come out," Jerkens said. "Most of the time, there's so much pressure there that it pops right out. What can you do? He won't be long getting to the races. He was dead fit and ready to run when it happened."

After putting together that win streak last winter, Snake Mountain was upset in the Excelsior Handicap in April, finishing fourth. He then ran in the Pimlico Special, where he bled, finishing sixth. Snake Mountain was given the summer off and returned to win an allowance race at Belmont on Oct. 24.

Bush eyes several stakes

Trainer Tom Bush enjoyed a solid month of December and hopes the good times continue in January as he gets several New York-breds ready for stakes engagements in open company.

Bush will send out on Sunday in the $75,000 Ruthless Stakes for 3-year-old fillies going six furlongs. High Peaks would probably be an odds-on favorite in a New York-bred entry-level allowance race Friday, but the lack of a true standout in the Ruthless has Bush thinking now is the time to pick up a stakes-placing or better.

High Peaks is only 1 for 7, but she has not been worse than third in five races since adding blinkers. She won her maiden by eight lengths Oct. 8 and was third in her only start against open company Oct. 31. Most recently, she finished second as the 2-1 favorite in an entry-level New York-bred race.

"She's a nice filly, she's been really consistent," Bush said. "I think she should run all right Sunday. I may take the blinkers off. I know she needed them when I put them on her - does she need them now? I don't know.''

Highgate Park, a 9 1/2-length winner of an entry-level allowance race last out, is the one to beat in the Ruthless. Others expected to run include Bikini Wiggle, Kalookan Lady, Prudencia, and possibly Baldomera.

Bush is looking at stakes for recent winners Scary Bob and Fait Accompli, both winners here last week. Scary Bob won the Maria's Mon Stakes by a neck last Friday. He will most likely run back in the Fred "Cappy" Capossela on Jan. 19. Fait Accompli, who won a New York-bred second-level allowance race Saturday, will likely take on open company in the Busanda on Jan. 25.

Queen's Triomphe, a 64-1 winner of the Montauk Handicap on Nov. 30 and the runner-up in the Grade 3 Ladies Handicap at 1 1/4 miles on Dec. 20, will run back in the 1 1/16-mile Affectionately Handicap on Jan. 10, Bush said.

"I'm a little worried about the cutback in distance and running her back too close, but she's doing well, she's eating well, and she's training real well in the mornings," Bush said.

Bush was hoping to be a player in the handicap division this winter with El Gran Papa, but El Gran Papa suffered a strained tendon and will most likely miss the winter.

Peso Por Beso one to watch

could be a 3-year-old to watch, at least as far as the New York winter circuit goes. Peso Por Beso, a son of Pentelicus owned and bred by Ronald Worswick's Lucky Lavender Stable, earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 80 when he won a mile and 70-yard maiden race Sunday. It was his first start around two turns and first on Lasix.

Under Aaron Gryder, Peso Por Beso won by 3 1/4 lengths and covered the distance in 1:44.13.

"He ran well," said Art Magnuson, assistant to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. "He was first-time Lasix and it was his second start for us. He's really coming around. Aaron [Gryder] was very happy with him."

Peso Por Beso could run in an entry-level allowance race Jan. 17 and the Whirlaway Stakes on Feb. 7. Both races are at 1 1/16 miles.