04/19/2002 11:00PM

Sams Tune ready to rock and roll


CICERO, Ill. - Sams Tune's workout tab is riddled with bullets, and if she fires her best shot Monday, Sams Tune will win the featured seventh race at Sportsman's Park.

Off since mid-September, Sams Tune returns to racing in a third-level allowance sprint with a $35,000 claiming option, and faces a solid group of eight other horses. And if she runs to her very fast works, Sams Tune will be tough indeed.

Sams Tune's last four works all were bullets, two of them at Hawthorne, two of them over the Sportsman's surface, on which Sams Tune never has raced.

"I don't know whether she's conditioned to work fast, or whether she's just fast in the morning," said Christine Janks, who trained the 4-year-old Sams Tune for only the final start of her eight-race campaign last season. "But she's been doing it the right way."

Sams Tune ran against some excellent horses last season, among them Breeders' Cup Distaff winner Unbridled Elaine, to whom she finished third, and multiple sprint stakes winners Hattiesburg and Spanish Glitter. But by the time late summer rolled around, Sams Tune's form was shot, and she finished up the year with fifth-, fourth-, and sixth-place finishes.

"She's been at the farm," Janks said. "She needed a break. I think she's doing real well right now. She's put on some weight, and I think she's going to have a good year."

Sams Tune and jockey Jesse Campbell drew post 1, which did not please Janks, who thinks the filly is best in a stalker's role. But from the rail in a Sportsman's six-furlong race, it is difficult not to use a horse's natural speed to maintain an inside position, and Sams Tune does have an early turn of foot.

There is another promising comebacker in the field, Oglala Sue, a Nebraska-bred filly who won three of her first six races last year, including a stakes race last summer at Horsemen's Park, her lone start in the state of her birth. Trained by Hugh Robertson, Oglala Sue shows a string of works that date back to late winter at Oaklawn Park, and she may well be ready to roll in her first start of the year.