03/23/2002 1:00AM

Proper Gamble gets perfect setup


JAMAICA, N.Y. - Proper Gamble, who won the Dearly Precious in February, won her second straight stakes Saturday in the $108,600, Grade 3 Cicada at Aqueduct.

Proper Gamble, the second choice in the six-horse field of 3-year-old fillies, won the seven-furlong Cicada by 2 3/4 lengths. Short Note finished second, a head in front of 1-2 favorite Forest Heiress in third.

Forest Heiress led through six furlongs in a lively 1:09.79, setting fractions of 22.25 seconds and 44.97. Short Note pressed Forest Heiress in second and they hooked up in the stretch, but neither couldn't hold off Proper Gamble, who stormed past them from the outside and seized the lead with a sixteenth remaining.

Javier Castellano rode Proper Gamble ($7.40), who covered the distance in 1:23.32 over a fast track.

"The pace was so fast today," Castellano said. "I wanted to take a hold of my filly and come with one run."

It was the second Cicada win for Proper Gamble's trainer, Todd Pletcher, who won the race in 1998 with Jersey Girl.

Pletcher's assistant John Hassett saddled Proper Gamble, a daughter of Prospectors Gamble owned by Stoneway Farm.

Sunday Break in Wood prep

Sunday Break, a Kentucky Derby hopeful trained by Neil Drysdale, is entered in an allowance race at Aqueduct on Wednesday. The 1 1/8-mile race, named the Fusaichi Pegasus for the Drysdale-trained colt who won the Wood Memorial and Kentucky Derby in 2000, will be used by Sunday Break as a prep for the $750,000 Wood Memorial April 13.

"He needs another race before he moves up to group competition," said Drysdale, who shipped Sunday Break to New York from California earlier in the week.

On Saturday at Aqueduct, Sunday Break worked five furlongs in 1:03.57, breezing, in company with Spectacularspencer, a local allowance runner.

Sunday Break faces five other 3-year-olds in Wednesday's sixth race, which carries a $50,000 purse.

Gary Stevens, on his way home to California from Dubai, will make a pit stop at Aqueduct to ride Sunday Break.

Sunday Break, a Japan-bred owned by Koji Maeda, has raced four times in California. A Forty Niner colt, he ran twice last year, finishing second and third in maiden races. This year, Sunday Break has won two starts at Santa Anita, including a two-turn preliminary allowance race Feb. 22.