11/19/2003 1:00AM

Jerkens prepared for dirt or turf


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Despite the heavy rain that hit the area Wednesday and was scheduled to last into Thursday, Aqueduct track superintendent Jerry Porcelli was "somewhat hopeful" that Saturday's Grade 2, $150,000 Red Smith Handicap would be run on the turf as scheduled.

Trainer Jimmy Jerkens has horses to run regardless of the surface on which the Red Smith will be run, but he stands a better chance to win the race if it is moved to the main track. Jerkens would run Snake Mountain in the Red Smith if it is on dirt and Haggs Castle if it remains on turf.

Snake Mountain ruled the handicap division here last fall and winter, winning five consecutive races from Oct. 4 through March 16. He won the Stuyvesant, Queens County, Aqueduct, and Stymie handicaps during that period.

Snake Mountain was injured when he finished sixth in the Pimlico Special in May and was away from the races for five months. He returned in a classified allowance race Oct 24, rallying to win by a half-length.

"It was good, it wasn't great," said Jerkens. "He should be much sharper this time because it's two turns."

If the Red Smith remains on turf, Jerkens would send Snake Mountain to Churchill for the $500,000 Clark Handicap Nov. 28, and would saddle Haggs Castle, a New York-bred, in the Red Smith.

Haggs Castle has not won since last November, when he took the Cormorant, a stakes restricted to progeny of New York stallions, at one mile on soft turf. This year, Haggs Castle was beaten 3 1/4 lengths as the favorite in the Cormorant. Still, Jerkens thinks the soft turf and the added distance of the Red Smith, run at 1 3/8 miles, would benefit Haggs Castle.

Jerkens will also have a runner in Sunday's Grade 3, $100,000 Valley Stream Stakes for juvenile fillies when he saddles Smokey Glacken in the six-furlong race. Smokey Glacken is coming off a third-place finish to Spectacular Moon in the Grade 2 Astarita Stakes on Oct. 12.

Smokey Glacken worked four furlongs in 49.76 seconds Tuesday over the training track. Jerkens said the time was a "little slower than what I wanted."

Add New York Hero to Cigar field

New York Hero, who is starting to return to the stakes-winning form he showed in the spring, has been added to the field for the Grade 1, $350,000 Cigar Mile on Nov. 29.

New York Hero won the Grade 2, $500,000 Lane's End Stakes in March at Turfway Park but finished fourth behind Empire Maker in the Wood Memorial. That loss started a five-race losing streak, during which New York Hero battled foot problems. After getting most of the summer off, he returned to finish first in two of three starts, though he was disqualified from victory in a third-level allowance race at Belmont on Oct. 19.

Two weeks later, New York Hero cleared the third-level allowance condition, overcoming a stumble at the start to run down Don Six and win by two lengths.

"Right now, he's better than he's ever been," said owner Ernie Paragallo. "And I think seven-eighths to a mile is his optimum distance."

On Wednesday morning, before the rains came, New York Hero worked four furlongs in 48.87 seconds. Javier Castellano was up for Wednesday's work and will ride New York Hero in the Cigar.

Others certain for the Cigar Mile are Bowman's Band, Congaree, Midas Eyes, Voodoo, and Well Fancied. Possible starters include Crafty Shaw, Peeping Tom, Presidentialaffair, Sam Lord's Castle, and Savoy Special.

Please Take Me Out works

Despite the miserable weather conditions Wednesday, trainer Alfredo Callejas shipped Please Take Me Out from Belmont to Aqueduct on Wednesday for a six-furlong workout in preparation for the $200,000 Demoiselle Stakes on Nov. 29. Please Take Me Out is coming off an upset win in the Miss Grillo Stakes on turf.

Working over a sealed and sloppy racetrack about 45 minutes before first post, Please Take Me Out worked six furlongs in 1:16.59 under jockey Aaron Gryder. Aqueduct clockers timed Please Take Me Out in fractions of 13.60 seconds, 25.68, 38.16, 50.98, 1:03.56, and galloping out in 1:29.65.

Please Take Me Out wore a hood during the work, but there were no blinker cups attached. She does not race with blinkers.

Gryder was pleased with how Please Take Me Out handled the off going.

Callejas said he is running Please Take Me Out on dirt because there are no other grass races for her in the East this year.

Others pointing to the Demoiselle include Ashado, La Reina, and Run Cat Run.

* The stewards fined jockey Victor Carrero $500 for misuse of the whip during Sunday's ninth race. The stewards ruled that Carrero continued to whip Nobody's Listening even though the horse was drifting out and carried out two other horses in the process.