06/19/2002 11:00PM

Sharp Performance dies


ELMONT, N.Y. - Sharp Performance, who suffered severe injuries to the ligaments in both his forelegs in the Fort Marcy Handicap on April 27, was euthanized on June 9 at Belmont Park.

Sharp Performance's trainer, David Donk, said the 4-year-old colt developed an infection in his left foreleg in the tendon sheath. It was hoped that Sharp Performance, a graded stakes winner, could be saved for stud duty even though his racing career was over.

"Dr. [Stephen] Selway did the autopsy and said he had no chance," Donk said Thursday. "Surprisingly, he was doing quite well but that was because he was such a good patient and he made it possible to last that long. It was the first time in

43 days since the [Fort Marcy] that his leg became inflamed. When we went to redress the bandages, his leg had blown up to the knee."

Sharp Performance, a son of Kris S. owned by John Behrendt, William Bloom, and Charles Marquis, won 4 of 7 career starts. He retired with earnings of $279,780 and wins in the Lawrence Realization and Lexington, both Grade 3 stakes. He also finished a sharp third in the Grade 1 Secretariat at Arlington Park last year.

Sharp Performance looked like he was going to win the Fort Marcy, his first start of the year, when he bobbled and was pulled up near the wire.

"There's no question he had the potential to be my best horse," said Donk, who also trained Awad, a Grade 1 winner who earned more than $3 million. "He had the potential to be the best grass horse in the country. You don't replace horses like that."

Her best behavior expected

Trainer Ken Nesky is hoping all the paddock schooling he has done with Shopping for Love since the Beaugay pays off in Sunday's $75,000-added Mount Vernon.

Shopping for Love, a New York-bred champion, has been known to be a little fractious, but her behavior in the Aqueduct paddock the day she ran in the Grade 3 Beaugay on May 5 was over the top. She undoubtedly left her race in the paddock after she finished last in the 10-horse field.

"She reared, lunged, and threw the saddle all over," Nesky recalled. "Then she flipped on her side with [Norberto] Arroyo on her. In hindsight, she probably should have been scratched. She ran like she had the wind knocked out of her."

Nesky said Shopping for Love doesn't react to the Belmont paddock the same way, but he's taking no chances and has been schooling his mare two times a day, as much as four times a week.

Shopping for Love will have a new rider in the Mount Vernon, a grass race for New York-bred females. Jerry Bailey, who won the Ticonderoga aboard Shopping for Love two years ago, replaces Arroyo.

Shopping for Love and Ransom's Pride are the co-highweights at 120 pounds in the 1 1/8-mile Mount Vernon.

Also expected are Eventail (117), I Met Somebody (117), Longingtobeme (116), Brandala (115), Wootie (115), Blue Iris (114), Dixie Doree (113), Liveitupnow (105), and River's Solution (104).

Sandy earns 29th victory

Say Florida Sandy, an 8-year-old, still has the will to win as he demonstrated with his determined half-length victory in Thursday's allowance feature.

Say Florida Sandy, a New York-bred with more than

$1.8 million in earnings, won for the 29th time in 84 career starts.

Ridden by Aaron Gryder, Say Florida Sandy outgamed Marshall Greeley in deep stretch for the win. Say Florida Sandy covered the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:14.91 over a fast track. The track record is 1:14.40.

Say Florida Sandy ($8.60) is owned by John Rotella and trained by Victor Cuadra.

- Anybody lucky enough to hit the $2 trifecta in Thursday's opener went home $13,884 richer. Trumpster (25-1), Turn Back the Time (19-1), and Adams Gold Nuggett (12-1), were responsible for the bonanza.