08/25/2001 11:00PM

Shine Again wins Ballerina


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - On the same soil where he built his reputation as the "Giant Killer," Hall of Fame trainer Allen Jerkens added another chapter to his legacy Sunday by sending out 21-1 shot Shine Again to wins the $250,000, Grade 1 Ballerina Handicap.

Shine Again, a homebred of Allaire duPont's Bohemia Stable, beat a field that included defending Ballerina winner Dream Supreme, the 1-2 favorite, as well as Breeders' Cup Distaff winner Spain, the 4-1 second choice.

With neither of those two firing, Shine Again rallied up the fence inside of the pace-setting Imadeed, opened up a sizeable advantage in mid-stretch and held off a late-charging Country Hideaway to win by one-half length. It was another 1 1/2 lengths back to Dream Supreme, who finished 3 1/2 lengths ahead of Spain. Imadeed was last.

Although Shine Again entered the race with three wins from her last five starts, she had never finished better than third in a graded stakes. But, Jerkens was impressed with her five-furlong workout in 58.80 seconds on Tuesday. That, combined with a short field and the fact his filly was getting nine pounds from the favorites, prompted Jerkens to enter the Ballerina.

"You still have to take a chance if it's only a small field," Jerkens said. "If they have a poor day that's your chance, especially with the weight advantage too. She was doing extra special good, that's the main reason why we ran."

Shine Again, under Jean-Luc Samyn, was fourth behind a headstrong Imadeed, who ran splits of 22.11 seconds and 44.59. Shine Again advanced along the inside around the turn and when Imadeed came wide into the stretch, she had a huge opening along the rail.

Meanwhile, Pat Day took Dream Supreme outside of Imadeed, but it didn't matter because she failed to fire inside the furlong marker. Country Hideaway, under John Velazquez, came with her trademark late run, but it wasn't enough.

Shine Again covered the seven furlongs in 1:22.33 and returned $44.20 to win.

The victory comes 28 years and three weeks after the Jerkens-trained Onion knocked off Secretariat in the Whitney Handicap. It also brought a tear to the eye of Jerkens, who, only eight months ago, lay in a hospital bed with a severe case of pancreatitis.

Jerkens, who was originally pointing Shine Again to the Floral Park at Belmont on Sept. 9, now will be pointed to the Grade 1 Ruffian on Sept. 15.

"If you're getting crazy, you might as well stay crazy," Jerkens said.