05/08/2003 11:00PM

Jerkens in familiar spot


PHOENIX - The "H" in H. Allen Jerkens stands for "Hall of Fame."

Jerkens has had a wonderful career, and he continues his top-shelf work in New York to this day. Jerkens is most famous for pulling upsets - he is called the "Giant Killer" - having beaten such top horses as Kelso (three times), Cicada, Buckpasser, Secretariat (twice), Gentlemen, and Skip Away.

And Harry Allen Jerkens has another chance to upset the favorite in Sunday's Grade 2 Genuine Risk at seven furlongs at Belmont. Jerkens sends out the mare Shine Again, who is a very real threat to heavy favorite Carson Hollow.

A 6-year-old daughter of Wild Again, Shine Again has won 13 of 28 and has earned more than $1 million. Last year she won the Grade 1 Ballerina Handicap at Saratoga, for the second year in a row. She also won the Grade 2 First Flight last year and was second in the Honorable Miss and third in the Grade 1 Ruffian and Grade 2 Gallant Bloom.

Also last year she finished second in the Genuine Risk. The horse who beat her that day? No less than Xtra Heat. Carson Hollow poses a big obstacle Sunday, but Shine Again may well be coming into this better than she did last year.

Jerkens put away Shine Again after her First Flight win last October. She didn't resurface until April 19 in a six-furlong allowance at Aqueduct. She stormed home a three-quarter-length winner, earning a 96 Beyer. It was the perfect springboard for another shot at the Genuine Risk.

She will also get something this year she did not get last year - help up front. Carson Hollow can flat fly early - she led the BC Sprint early before faltering. This year she has run second to Xtra Heat in the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie at Laurel, and then won the Grade 2 Distaff BC March 29 at Aqueduct. But Carson Hollow may not have things easy in the Genuine Risk.

Trainer Mike Machowsky has shipped West Coast-based September Secret in for the race, and she can absolutely sizzle, too. She comes off a romping win at Keeneland in a three-other-than allowance, so she's already shown she can leave Southern California and prosper.

Carson Hollow probably won't be asked to change her tactics. The 2002 New York-bred horse of the year, she figures to go, go, go, and challenge the others to keep up.

If September Secret can make Carson Hollow work, the race may set up for Shine Again. At 9-2 or so, she can put another notch in Mr. Jerkens's gun.

Derby fallout

Save for Indian Express's adventures, the Derby seemed a truly run race. Maybe Buddy Gil could have been closer early on with clear sailing, but otherwise most in the field got to play their hand. It was simply a case of a New York-bred gelding doing it better.

Bobby Frankel's announcement that Empire Maker would not go in the Preakness makes perfect sense. If he were to go in the Preakness and run poorly, he could become this year's version of Harlan's Holiday: a big-name 3-year-old who did little in the big races after the spring.

Besides, when you have Peace Rules at your disposal, giving Empire Maker a pass makes perfect sense. Peace Rules figures to relish the Preakness situation and probably won't run in the Belmont.

As for Funny Cide's Derby victory, no matter how you slice it, it's a great story. He is a courageous horse who showed heart when he came back at Empire Maker in the Wood. The Derby victory put jockey Jose Santos and trainer Barclay Tagg in the limelight - a place they haven't been for most of the last few years. Funny Cide's win shows that a good horse can come from anywhere, and that you don't need to spend millions of dollars to get a Derby horse.

The Preakness figures to have a faster pace than the Derby. With Pat Valenzuela taking the ride on Indian Express, and with the memory of the horse's trouble at the start of the Derby fresh in trainer Bob Baffert's mind, you know he's going to fire out. Scrimshaw won't be far away and neither will be Peace Rules and Funny Cide. Peace Rules was eager to go early in the Derby, maybe too eager. He showed in the Louisiana Derby - when he easily beat Funny Cide - that he has more patience than he showed in Louisville.

The feeling here is Frankel gets revenge. A week ahead of time: 1. Peace Rules 2. Funny Cide 3. Senor Swinger.