08/24/2004 11:00PM

Punch the Odds gives Sapling a shot


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Trainer Eddie Broome hopes a little dental work will keep Punch the Odds on a straighter course in the Grade 3, $100,000 Sapling Stakes for 2-year-olds Saturday at Monmouth Park.

Punch the Odds won his only start, beating New Jersey-breds by 5 3/4 lengths Aug. 15 despite swinging wide on the turn.

"Hopefully, we won't blow the turn like the first time he ran," said Broome. "He had a little tooth problem and we think we've corrected it. We had it done a month before, but he had developed a sharp point."

With the dental issue solved, Broome's primary concern centers on the two-week turnaround.

"We're coming back a little quick," said Broome. "The race is there - if you skip it, it's gone. Another week would have to help us and give us a chance to breeze him. We're taking a shot."

In addition to Punch the Odds, other probable runners for the six-furlong Sapling include Park Avenue Ball, the Tyro winner; Primal Storm, who captured the Flash Stakes at Belmont Park; and Pop the Question.

Sleeters lose Something Smith

The second New Jersey Thorough-bred Festival on Sunday will bring no joy to the Sleeter barn following the death of multiple stakes winner Something Smith.

A 4-year-old homebred gelding, Something Smith would have been one of the favorites in the $100,000 Colts Neck Handicap for statebreds going six furlongs. But Something Smith spiked a temperature late last week and rapidly deteriorated. He was put down on Sunday.

"It reached a point where he couldn't move," said Gerry Sleeter, the owner who works closely with his son, Kevin, the stable's trainer. "He was a tough horse, but it just came on him one morning. It happened so fast, it's scary. I don't know what happened. Nobody does."

Something Smith was always a force at Monmouth, where he recorded all seven career victories, including the Bernie Dowd Handicap earlier this meet. He was effective in open and statebred sprints.

Something Smith ran his two best career Beyer Figures while finishing second in open stakes last year: a 102 in the Gallant Bob Handicap at Philadelphia Park and a 101 behind Gators N Bears in the Rumson Stakes at Monmouth.

Something Smith earned $282,389 in a 17-race career.

"I don't think a horse in the barn has picked up its head since it happened," said Kevin Sleeter.

Twist and Pop looks tough

Twist and Pop, an astute claim by Richard Dutrow Jr. back in March at Aqueduct, will try to knock off another condition Friday in a $43,000 optional claiming race for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles.

A 5-year-old mare, Twist and Pop has won two races and finished second twice in five starts since the claim. She rolled to a 5 3/4-length allowance win last time out at Monmouth, earning an 87 Beyer for that victory, the best last-race figure in the field Friday.

Julian Pimentel, who has been aboard for all five starts since the claim, has the return call.

Dr. Hogan gives free seminar

The veterinarian Dr. Patty Hogan, best known for saving Smarty Jones's life, will meet with high school girls interested in a career in equine medicine on Sept. 16 at 3 p.m.

Hogan will share how she achieved her goals, advise girls on how to prepare for a similar career, and give a tour of the New Jersey Equine Clinic in Clarksburg.

There is no charge for the event, sponsored by the U.S. Trotting Association. Advance registration is required; call Ellen Harvey at (732) 780-3700 to reserve a spot.