05/05/2003 11:00PM

Jerkens barn primed to keep the party going


ELMONT, N.Y. - Allen Jerkens may be the hottest trainer this side of Bobby Frankel.

After beginning the Aqueduct spring meet 1 for 11, Jerkens won with 14 of his last 30 starters to finish as the meet's leading trainer. He also won two of the last four stakes run at Aqueduct, with Saint Verre (the Fort Marcy) and Spite the Devil (the Withers).

Racing has switched to Belmont Park this week, but Jerkens hopes the change of venue won't change his luck when he sends out House Party and Shine Again in a pair of weekend stakes.

Saturday, Jerkens will saddle House Party in the Grade 2, $200,000 Nassau County Breeders' Cup Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs. A daughter of French Deputy, House Party has won two of four starts this year, including the Old Hat Stakes at Gulfstream in January, and, most recently, the Legal Light Stakes at Delaware Park by 8 1/2 lengths on April 26.

In the Old Hat, House Party rallied from last. In the Legal Light, run over a sloppy track, House Party raced on the pace through splits of 22.29 seconds and 45.87.

"It just developed that way," Jerkens said. "I just left it up to [jockey Joe Rocco]. I couldn't make heads or tails of [the pace] on paper."

Jerkens said House Party came out of the race in good shape and he has no qualms running her back in two weeks. Jose Santos has the call.

House Party will face a competitive field, headed by Cyber Secret, who upset champion Storm Flag Flying in the Comely Stakes, Randaroo, City Sister, Double Scoop, and Uphill Skier.

Sunday, Jerkens will send out the multiple Grade 1-winning mare Shine Again against New York-bred horse of the year Carson Hollow in the $150,000 Genuine Risk. Shine Again won her seasonal debut, taking an allowance race by three-quarters of a length at Aqueduct. That victory put her over the $1 million mark in earnings.

Tuesday, Shine Again came back with a solid six-furlong workout in 1:12.84 seconds over Belmont's main track.

"I didn't think she'd go quite so fast," Jerkens said. "I guess the track was pretty good and she's probably doing good."

Carson Hollow was assigned highweight of 122 pounds for the Genuine Risk, run at 6 1/2 furlongs. Shine Again, who finished second in this race last year to Xtra Heat, gets in at 119. Others expected to run include Harmony Lodge (116), September Secret (116), A New Twist (115), and possibly Literary Light (112).

Jerkens also laid out plans for some of his other horses. Puzzlement, fourth in the off-the-turf Fort Marcy, has been nominated to the Pimlico Special on May 16. Saint Verre, who won the Fort Marcy, is being pointed to the Jaipur on turf on May 26.

Spite the Devil, the Withers winner who is not Triple Crown nominated, will be pointed to the Peter Pan Stakes on May 24. Jerkens said one reason he didn't nominate to the Triple Crown is because he felt the New York-bred colt had distance limitations.

"I never thought he'd go further than a mile," Jerkens said. "Maybe he will, eventually."

Funny Cide to school at Belmont

Those who attend the races at Belmont on Saturday will get a chance to see Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide up close. Funny Cide will school in the Belmont paddock early on the card, most likely before the second race.

"We want to get him used to the crowd," said trainer Barclay Tagg, who still has not finalized his shipping plans to Pimlico.

Fans who attend "Breakfast at Belmont" Saturday morning can catch a glimpse of Funny Cide on the track. He usually goes out just before 9 a.m., following the renovation break.

Empire Maker, Peace Rules arrive

Empire Maker and Peace Rules, the second- and third-place finishers from the Kentucky Derby arrived at Belmont late Tuesday afternoon following a flight from Louisville and have been bedded down in barn 2, four barns away from their conqueror, Funny Cide.

Those two arrived from Churchill along with 14 other Bobby Frankel-trained horses, including Midas Eyes, Aldebaran, Heat Haze, and You - all stakes winners at Churchill last week.

The flight was delayed due to weather problems, but there were no reported problems with how the horses shipped.

Frankel is expected to fly in from California on Saturday night.

Iron Deputy back in big way

Iron Deputy, a promising colt whose career has been plagued by foot problems, won his first race in more than a year on Sunday, taking a third-level allowance race by 11 1/4 lengths at Aqueduct.

It was Iron Deputy's first win since the Count Fleet Stakes in January 2002 over Aqueduct's inner track. He had only run twice since. In the Jim Dandy, he clipped heels with Nothing Flat and tossed jockey Richard Migliore in the stretch. He was entered in the Pennsylvania Derby last September, but was scratched after developing a quarter crack. Iron Deputy returned in a seven-furlong allowance race on March 22, finishing fourth, beaten a half-length.

Sunday, Iron Deputy stalked a moderate early pace, before taking command entering the turf and drawing clear. He covered nine furlongs in 1:48.70 under Richard Migliore.

"I thought he'd run good, he was working real good," trainer Jimmy Jerkens said.

Jerkens said he would like to keep Iron Deputy in route races and may take a look at the $250,000 Brooklyn Handicap on June 14. Jerkens also mentioned trying the turf.

Speaking of turf, Jerkens said he is pointing Multiple Choice, winner of the Gravesend Handicap in January, to the Jaipur, a seven-furlong turf stakes on May 26. Jerkens had nominated Multiple Choice to this Saturday's Bold Ruler Handicap, but isn't happy with the gelding's condition.

"He's got another thing with an old quarter crack and he's still got his winter coat," Jerkens said. "He's just starting to shed it. He should be nice and sleek and ready to go by then."