06/23/2004 11:00PM

Primal Storm gets Flash foes


ELMONT, N.Y. - If you missed the Grade 3 Flash on June 4, you can catch a replay in Saturday's ungraded Tremont Stakes at Belmont Park.

The first three under the wire in the Flash - Primal Storm, Winning Expression, and Gold Joy - plus maiden winner June the Tiger, were entered in the $100,000-added Tremont.

Primal Storm, undefeated in two starts, including a seven-length romp in the Flash, is the one to beat in the 5 1/2-furlong race. Shane Sellers will ride Primal Storm for trainer Steve Asmussen.

"He was better than who he was in with both times," Asmussen said. "His maiden win looked like the Flash. He hasn't missed a beat since. I'm not worried about him liking the surface. I feel very comfortable where we're at for our next race."

Primal Storm, who set the pace in each of his races, could encounter some early pressure from June the Tiger, who won a maiden race on the front end by 6 1/2 lengths at Belmont on June 6.

June the Tiger is trained by Todd Pletcher, who won the Tremont last year with Heckle and in 1999 with More Than Ready.

Pletcher said June the Tiger did everything he was asked of in his debut.

"He broke well, showed speed, and had plenty left turning for home," he said. "Obviously, this is a tougher race and [Primal Storm] has the benefit of two races."

Winning Expression, a New York-bred, had some trouble in the Flash, but even with a clean trip it seems unlikely he would have beaten Primal Storm.

Gold Joy couldn't keep up early in the Flash and finished third.

The Tremont is the third race on a 10-race card.

Randaroo out with 'minor setback'

Multiple stakes winner Randaroo will not make the $500,000 Princess Rooney Stakes at Calder on July 10 as planned, according to her trainer, Kiaran McLaughlin.

McLaughlin said Randaroo would miss the race because of a "minor setback in her training." He declined to be more specific.

Since McLaughlin began training Randaroo for owner Joe Allen last fall, she has won five graded stakes. In her last start, Randaroo, a 4-year-old, finished third, beaten 7 1/4 lengths, in the Grade 1 Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs on May 1.

McLaughlin is preparing Bending Strings for a start in the Grade 1 Prioress here on July 3. Bending Strings was nominated to Saturday's Grade 1 Mother Goose, but McLaughlin opted to drop her back to six furlongs in the Prioress.

In her last start, Bending Strings finished fourth in the Grade 1 Acorn at a mile.

"I think she is better sitting off a fast pace in a sprint," McLaughlin said. "The sprint division is a touch easier than the division running in the Mother Goose."

McLaughlin said Jerry Bailey, who rode Bending Strings to a 4 3/4-length win in the Grade 2 Nassau County Breeders' Cup Handicap on May 8, has the mount in the Prioress.

Buy the Sport return nears

Grade 1 winner Buy the Sport is about three weeks away from a return to the races, according to her co-owner, Peter Minikes. Buy the Sport hasn't run since finishing fifth in the Breeders' Cup Distaff at Santa Anita Park in October.

A New York-bred, Buy the Sport was entered to run in the Grade 3 Bed o' Roses Breeders' Cup Handicap on April 17 at Aqueduct, but was scratched the morning of the race by her trainer, Bobby Barbara, who said she had a colic attack.

On Thursday, Minikes said Buy the Sport worked a half-mile in 47.49 seconds on the main track. It was the fastest of 48 works at the distance.

"She's going in the right direction," said Minikes, who would like to find an allowance race for Buy the Sport's return.

In her first start in this country, Buy the Sport won the Grade 1 Gazelle for 3-year-old fillies at Belmont in September. In her second race, she finished third to Sightseek, beaten 9 1/4 lengths, in the Grade 1 Beldame.

Minikes also owns Master David, who is trained by Bobby Frankel. Minikes, who was visiting with Frankel on Thursday morning at Frankel's barn, said that when Buy the Sport returns to stakes competition he wants to avoid Sightseek, whom Frankel trains. With her win in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps on June 19, Sightseek vaulted to the top of the older filly division.

"We'll stay away from Sightseek," Minikes said with a wry smile in Frankel's direction.

Mass Media may run in Amsterdam

Frankel said Mass Media, a winner of a second-level allowance race Wednesday, is a possible candidate for the Grade 2, $150,000 Amsterdam Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 7.

Part of a swift pace while racing on the rail in the six-furlong race, Mass Media outdueled Forest Grove for a half-length win. The final time was 1:10.05 after fractions of 22.09 seconds, 44.73, and 56.91. Mass Media earned a 97 Beyer Speed Figure.

"If he was outside, he might have won easier," Frankel said. "Those horses were smoking in front."

Mass Media, a 3-year-old son of Touch Gold, was making his first start for Frankel. Owned by Gary and Mary West, Mass Media raced three times as a 2-year-old, including open-length scores in two races at Louisiana Downs for trainer Cole Norman. In his last start before running Wednesday, Mass Media finished 10th in the Grade 2 Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland on Oct. 4.

* On Thursday, the Frankel-trained Ghostzapper worked five furlongs in 1:01.06 for the $150,000 Tom Fool on July 4.

Congrats, a nominee to the $500,000 Suburban on July 3, covered the same distance in 1:02.46. Eye of the Tiger, another Suburban nominee, worked a half-mile in 49.08.

- additional reporting by David Grening