03/14/2005 1:00AM

Island Sand's painful trip

Jeff Coady/Coady Photography
Injustice goes wire to wire to win Saturday's Grade 3 Azeri Breeders' Cup.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Island Sand's chances of winning the Grade 3, $175,000 last weekend at Oaklawn Park were over at the break, but not for conventional reasons.

Island Sand was stepped on by another rival coming out of the starting gate, leaving her with a gash the size of a quarter on the bulb, or heel, of her left hind foot. Her shoe was also pulled off during the incident.

"It's like running on a flat tire," said Larry Jones, who trains Island Sand. "You've got three wheels going, but you've got this slippage and it really hurts you, especially in the turns, whenever [horses] are on their left lead and trying to push. And that's generally where she makes her big move, and she still made a move and went to them, but we just had to use too much horse to get there."

Island Sand did launch what looked like a winning move on the turn and ultimately finished third to wire-to-wire winner Injustice. The condition of Island Sand's foot has improved since Saturday's race, and Jones said she is still being pointed for the Grade 1, $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn on April 9.

Jones looked for her to walk for five to seven days while the foot is being treated.

"Hopefully this will be a short-term situation," he said. "We've got about four weeks to the Apple Blossom. We can get this done."

Island Sand finished a troubled second in last year's Kentucky Oaks, and is one of the top fillies based at Oaklawn.

Norman pair heads feature

Trainer Cole Norman, who won five races here last Friday and the $50,000 Mademoiselle the same night at Delta Downs, has two strong candidates in Oaklawn's featured ninth race on Wednesday. He will send out the uncoupled Grand Bank and Local Yokel in a six-furlong entry-level allowance that has a purse of $33,500.

Grand Bank made his first start in 3 1/2 months on Feb. 11 and finished third to Rodeo's Castle in an entry-level allowance. Rodeo's Castle returned to win a two-other-than allowance in his next start and is being considered for the $50,000 Hot Springs Stakes on March 26.

Grand Bank has speed and drew the rail, and figures to be prominent for jockey Jamie Theriot. Calvin Borel has the mount on Local Yokel, who also made his first start of the year last out, finishing third to quality colt Shrewd Deputy in a different entry-level allowance on Feb. 11.

Rule provides for pick four

The Arkansas Racing Commission on Saturday adopted a rule that provides for pick four wagers on Oaklawn races. The move was made to pave the way for Oaklawn to serve as the host for a national pick four with Keeneland on April 16.

The wager will open with the Instant Racing Breeders' Cup at Oaklawn. The next two legs will be the Commonwealth Breeders' Cup and Blue Grass, both at Keeneland, and the series will conclude with the Arkansas Derby.

There will be two hours of television coverage of the races on ESPN, according to Bobby Geiger, simulcast director at Oaklawn.

There are no immediate plans to incorporate a pick four into the regular wagering format at Oaklawn.

* Isabell's Shoes, who has won her maiden and the $50,000 Martha Washington Stakes in her last two starts, is expected to head the field for the $75,000 Honeybee for 3-year-old fillies on Sunday. She is trained by Jinks Fires.

* Kota, a stakes winner who is Grade 2-placed, is getting some time off and will not start in the Honeybee, said her trainer, Bob Holthus.