07/09/2002 11:00PM

Running Tide to skip Long Branch

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OCEANPORT, N.J. - Running Tide, undefeated in five career starts, was expected to run at Monmouth in the Grade 3, $100,000 Long Branch Breeders' Cup Stakes on Saturday, but trainer Rodney Jenkins said Wednesday that the horse would run instead in the Grade 2 Ohio Derby at Thistledown on July 20.

Running Tide, coming off a victory in the Grade 3 Leonard Richards at Delaware June 8, would have been favored to continue his streak in the Long Branch, a prep for the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational Aug. 4.

"The hot weather has gotten to him pretty good," Jenkins said. "I don't want to rush him back into it."

Running Tide worked a half-mile in 47.60 seconds at Laurel Park Monday, but Jenkins said the 3-year-old colt did not gallop out well. The work and that Running Tide had three tough races in 27 days, from May 12 to June 8, led Jenkins to the decision to skip the Long Branch.

With Running Tide out, the Long Branch field should have five or six horses, and Stephentown may be favored. He was a Kentucky Derby possible early in the year, but was taken off the Triple Crown trail after a sixth-place finish in the Grade 1 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream. He comes off a second-place finish in the Northern Dancer Stakes at Churchill Downs June 15. The leading rider here, Eibar Coa, will ride Stephentown for the first time in the Long Branch.

Also expected for the Long Branch are Puck, winner of the Unbridled Stakes at Calder June 22 in his last start; the John Kimmel-trained Essayons, fourth in the Grade 2 Peter Pan, to be ridden by Richard Migliore; Shah Jehan, trained by D. Wayne Lukas; and either Smoked Em or Smooth Jazz from the Todd Pletcher barn. Trump Marina and The Judge Sez Who are possible for the race

Kris's Prayer Virginia-bound

Kris's Prayer, winner of the $50,000 Choice Stakes on the turf here June 23, will make his next start in the $500,000 Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs Saturday.

Kris's Prayer, a 3-year-old trained by Terri Pompay, ran second in the Grade 3 Jersey Derby on the turf here May 27. The Virginia Derby will be his biggest test to date. He takes on six others, including the Bill Mott-trained Orchard Park and the Neil Drysdale-trained Flying Dash.

Pompay said Kris's Prayer would van to Virginia on Thursday, and Horatio Karamanos, leading rider at Colonial Downs, would pick up the mount.

Pompay also reported that Clearly a Queen, winner of the Grade 3 Matchmaker on the turf here last Sunday, would make her next start in either the Grade 2 Diana Handicap at Saratoga July 27 or the Grade 3 Eatontown Handicap here Aug. 4. Pompay said the 5-year-old Clearly a Queen, who has two wins in three starts at Monmouth, came out of the race in good condition.

Milliondollarlady in local debut

Milliondollarlady, fourth in the Astoria Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at Belmont June 30, will make her first start at Monmouth next Wednesday.

Trainer Mary Hartmann said Milliondollarlady has been doing well since the Astoria, and will go next in an entry-level allowance at 5 1/2 furlongs. Milliondollarlady ran third in the Fashion Stakes at Belmont June 6. Hartmann said she is waiting for the opportunity to run Milliondollarlady in longer races, because she has closed strongly in her four career starts. Her first two came at Gulfstream Park.

"I hope they start writing longer races," Hartmann said. "She doesn't look like a sprinter. I feel she wants more distance."

Miss Marni a router

Miss Marni, who won an entry-level allowance on Saturday in her first race at two turns, will continue to race in routes, maybe on grass, said her trainer, Buddy Carlesimo. A daughter of Broad Brush, Miss Marni purchased for $200,000 last year at 2 by C L S Stable.

"I'd like to try her on the turf eventually," Carlesimo said. "She's bred to go long and she'll be a valuable mare if she gets some black type."

Miss Marni won her maiden here May 12 at six furlongs, and then ran second to Wish It Were on June 8. Wish It Were went on to win the Dearly Precious Stakes. Saturday, at 1 1/16 miles, Miss Marni set the pace and held off Sydney's Kiss by a half-length.

Carlesimo said Miss Marni is a challenge to train and race.

"She doesn't want to gallop much," he said, "and she can't be hit with the stick. She has to be hand-ridden in her races."

Carlesimo said Miss Marni will likely return in a two-other-than allowance in three weeks.

- Two-year-old Wildcat Heir, who earned a 94 Beyer Speed Figure in his maiden win June 26, had his first workout since that race on Wednesday. With jockey Eibar Coa aboard, he breezed four furlongs in 48.80 seconds and galloped out five furlongs in 1:01.80. Wildcat Heir is under consideration for the Sanford at Saratoga July 25 or the Sapling here Aug. 10.

- Savannah Bayou moves up a condition in Friday's eighth race, and will probably be the favorite in a field of eight. Savannah Bayou finished fourth in the Grade 2 Schuylerville at Saratoga last year, and returned off a layoff of almost a year here June 26 and won an entry-level allowance as the 3-5 favorite.