11/29/2004 12:00AM

Rockport Harbor A-okay

Sensational 2-year-old Rockport Harbor (right) earns a 102 Beyer Speed Figure in defeating Galloping Grocer in the Remsen. The time for the race (1:48.88) is the second-fastest of 32 Remsens run at the 1 1/8-mile distance.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Though Remsen winner Rockport Harbor had a piece of his right hind foot the size of a silver dollar trimmed on Monday, trainer John Servis doesn't think it will inhibit Rockport Harbor's preparations for a run at next year's Kentucky Derby.

Rockport Harbor was stepped on from behind in the early stages of Saturday's $200,000 at Aqueduct, a race in which he recorded a front-running neck victory over previously undefeated Galloping Grocer. Rockport Harbor's final time of 1:48.88 was the second-fastest of 32 Remsens run at nine furlongs. He earned a 102 Beyer Speed Figure.

Rockport Harbor was bleeding significantly from his hoof in the winner's circle. The injured area was bandaged for the trip back to Philadelphia Park, where on Monday it underwent further treatment.

"My vet cut a lot of it off today and was very happy with it," Servis said Monday after sweeping the late double at Philadelphia Park. "It didn't get into the hoof, and that's real good. It's probably going to be a month or so before we can start bearing down on him.

"He cut out the size of a silver dollar and maybe three-quarters of an inch thick. It bled big-time. My vet even said if the bandage is too bloody at feed time, I'll change it, but it was okay so we left it."

Rockport Harbor, a son of Unbridled's Song owned by Rick Porter's Fox Hill Farm, was going to get the next month off anyway, Servis said. The only difference is where he was going to spend that time before heading to Oaklawn Park in January.

"Ideally, I was thinking of sending him to the farm and putting him in the round pen for two or three weeks, but that's obviously out of the question," Servis said.

Servis said he may opt to skip the Southwest Stakes on Feb. 19 and just run Rockport Harbor in the Rebel Stakes (March 19) and Arkansas Derby (April 16) before the Kentucky Derby. This year, Servis ran Smarty Jones in all three races at Oaklawn, leading up to that colt's victories in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.

Having already run nine furlongs around two turns, Rockport Harbor has a greater foundation in him than did Smarty Jones. Rockport Harbor went 4 for 4 this year with victories in the Nashua and Remsen.

"I'm glad I elected to run him in that race, it answered a lot of questions," Servis said. "It was a good solid race, I think, that will catapult him."

Galloping Grocer plans undetermined

Trainer Dominick Schettino was pleased with how well Galloping Grocer came out of his second-place finish in the Remsen, but no decision has been made on where the New York-bred gelding will spend the winter.

Schettino, who is stabled at Belmont Park, has been allotted stalls at Gulfstream for the winter, but has yet to decide whether he will take them. Schettino said he would confer with owner Robert Rosenthal to plot Galloping Grocer's 3-year-old campaign.

Though Galloping Grocer suffered his first career defeat, Schettino said he was happy with the race. Schettino noted that Galloping Grocer was "a little green" when John Velazquez hit him with the whip.

Schettino was not totally satisfied with how well Galloping Grocer broke from the gate, something that Schettino has pinpointed as a trouble spot all year.

"He still didn't break as sharp as he should, though he was much better," Schettino said. "Small field you can get away with that; big field the gate is pretty important for breaking and getting your position."

Schettino cited the work that the New York Racing Association gate crew has done with Galloping Grocer as one advantage to keeping him in New York.

If Galloping Grocer stays in New York, his 3-year-old season could commence in the $75,000 Whirlaway on Feb. 12.

Lion Tamer will race next year

Lion Tamer, the upset winner of the Grade 1 Cigar Mile, will ship to Florida on Wednesday and get a brief freshening before embarking on a 5-year-old campaign.

Trainer Todd Pletcher said he was not sure what race he would target for Lion Tamer's return, but mentioned the $1 million Godolphin Mile at Nad al Sheba Racecourse in Dubai in late March as a potential early-season objective.

Meanwhile, Pletcher said that Purge, who finished sixth in the Cigar Mile, would also ship to Florida, where the $500,000 Donn Handicap on Feb. 5 would be an early-season goal. Pletcher said Purge could prep in the $100,000 Hal's Hope at Gulfstream on Jan. 8.

Funny Cide on vacation

Funny Cide, the champion 3-year-old of 2003, was expected to ship to Florida this week and take up residence at Gulfstream Park as he prepares for his 5-year-old season. Trainer Barclay Tagg said it is "unlikely" Funny Cide would make the Donn Handicap, but will likely be ready for the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap on March 5.

Funny Cide, who finished 10th in the Breeders' Cup Classic, has been walking the shed row twice a day and turned out in a pen when the weather permitted, assistant trainer Robin Smullen said.

Smullen said Funny Cide would most likely walk under tack for the first month in Florida before resuming serious training.

Funny Cide has spent the past two winters at Palm Meadows. But now with Gulfstream's renovated main track a replica of Palm Meadows', Tagg said he would prefer to be at Gulfstream, which is closer to his home.

"I don't have to drive 3,000 miles a month now," Tagg said.