03/04/2005 12:00AM

Rockport Harbor puts in mile breeze


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Kentucky Derby candidate Rockport Harbor breezed one mile in 1:39.95 on Friday morning at Oaklawn Park. Rockport Harbor is expected to make his 3-year-old debut in the Grade 3, $250,000 Rebel here March 19.

The work was the fastest of two at the distance, with Kichwa Tembo, an unraced 3-year-old, traveling one mile over the fast track in 1:42.40.

Rockport Harbor came onto the track at 6:50 a.m. Central, accompanied by a pony. He backtracked, then turned around and galloped with the pony to about the sixteenth pole. Rockport Harbor began his work at the finish line, ridden by jockey Willie Martinez.

The pair traveled through fractions of 11.32 seconds for the opening eighth-mile, 23.02 seconds for the first quarter, 34.93 seconds for three furlongs, 47.28 seconds for the half-mile, 1:00.05 for five furlongs, 1:13.79 for six furlongs, and 1:26.86 for seven furlongs. Rockport Harbor's work was completed where it started, at the finish line, and he galloped out 1 1/8 miles in 1:54.69.

"Time-wise it was good, but he started having trouble with the pony early on," said John Servis, who trains Rockport Harbor. "The pony got him all cranked up, and he just went too fast the first part of it."

Servis said Rockport Harbor cooled out well, and he will likely have just one more drill before the Rebel, a 1 1/16-mile race.

"It will probably be Friday, or maybe even a little farther down, like Sunday," Servis said. "I'll play it by ear. He'll probably go five-eighths, and maybe [we'll] go real slow with him and take some of that anxiousness out."

Rockport Harbor has won all four of his starts, including the Grade 2 Remsen and Grade 3 Nashua, both at Aqueduct. He races for Fox Hill Farms.

Pie N Burger possible for Razorback

Trainer Cole Norman will make a decision on whether Pie N Burger, who is closing in on $1 million in earnings, will run Sunday in the Grade 3, $100,000 Razorback Handicap after the horse works over the weekend. Norman said Pie N Burger is based at River Point Training Center, located behind Louisiana Downs in Bossier City, La. He was scheduled to work on Saturday.

"He trains so good over there," said Norman. "Right now, he's training super. I want to see how he works, and I'll go from there. If he works good, I'm going to run him."

Pie N Burger, who races for Kagele Brothers, has won 14 races and $924,133. In his last start, he was second by a nose to Midway Road in the $60,000 Tenacious Handicap at Fair Grounds on Dec. 4. He earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 102.

Norman's division of handicap horses this meet is deep. He won the Grade 3, $100,000 Essex Handicap at Oaklawn last month with Absent Friend, who is also being pointed for the Razorback. Another older stakes winner in the barn is Intelligent Male, also eyeing the Razorback.

Mr. Jester returns from break

Mr. Jester, who won the $1 million Delta Jackpot in 2003, arrived at Oaklawn last Sunday after some downtime, and has just begun preparations for his 4-year-old debut. The horse vacationed at the same Oklahoma farm as recently retired millionaire Maysville Slew following the conclusion of his 3-year-old campaign in November.

But two weeks into his vacation, Mr. Jester fell ill with liver complications that caused temporary blindness. He has since made a complete recovery, said his trainer, Steve Wren, and he looks bigger and stronger than last year. Mr. Jester arrived at Oaklawn around lunchtime last Sunday.

"Nobody left the barn until he got here," said Wren, who trains Mr. Jester for Kaaren Biggs.

Mr. Jester has earned $785,400.