09/26/2003 12:00AM

Razen Hazen just amazin'

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SAN MATEO, Calif. - Dennis Ward would be the first to tell you that he underestimated Razen Hazen.

Purchased by Ward as a $3,500 yearling, Razen Hazen will likely be favored Sunday, meeting six rivals and attempting to win his second stakes in the $60,000-added San Mateo Stakes at six furlongs. He will be given time off after the race, Ward said, "win, lose or draw, to let him grow."

Ward, who trains his son Wesley's northern California string, said he didn't know Razen Hazen was fast - until he raced.

"He was outworking my other 2-year-olds by a neck or a half-length, so I wasn't sure if I had much," he said.

Ward entered Razen Hazen in a $32,000 maiden claimer at Santa Rosa on July 25, and he won impressively in wire-to-wire style. He ran him back nine days later in the Cavonnier Juvenile Stakes and the result was another wire-to-wire victory.

Ward originally had no plan to run Razen Hazen in the Cavonnier Juvenile and brought him back to Bay Meadows after the maiden victory. But the colt responded so well after the initial win that Ward gave him a shot in the stakes.

"I hauled him up there the day of the race both times, but he's laid back and it didn't bother him," Ward said.

Ward was surprised at Razen Hazen's early speed. "He always breaks well, and that helped the first time, but he came right back and made the lead the same way [in the Cavonnier Juvenile]," he said.

Razen Hazen figures to open up early again Sunday.

What Ward appreciates most, perhaps, is Razen Hazen's gameness. "He was hooked twice last time," he said. "I learned he's got heart. He'll run through a brick wall for you."

In the Cavonnier Juvenile, Razen Hazen first repelled Crown Royalty, then held off Trish's Diamond late bid. Trish's Diamond's trainer Lloyd Mason respects Razen Hazen but looks forward to the rematch.

Trish's Diamond finished third last out in an allowance race Sept. 5.

"We've had excuses the last two races, just simple things," he said. "The last race, he got a real bad break and rushed a bit, but he will rate easily and has shown gradual improvement all along."

Hajji's Honor, who caught Trish's Diamond late for second in the Sept. 5 race, and the filly Hot Weekend, who ran third in an allowance race after breaking poorly, also might be tough.