11/05/2002 12:00AM

Snake Mountain gets the trip


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Receiving a perfect rail-skimming ride from Jose Santos, Snake Mountain won Tuesday's Grade 3, $113,400 Stuyvesant Handicap by a half-length over lukewarm favorite Windsor Castle before 4,078 at Aqueduct.

It was the first stakes victory for Snake Mountain, who was a bust on the turf in Ireland for trainer Aidan O'Brien. He was purchased for $50,000 by his current connections - which include Berkshire Stud, Charles Broman, and Jack Shelley - and he has won six of nine starts and earned $241,920 for them.

Under Santos, Snake Mountain sat third while Burning Roma and Open Sesame dueled through fractions of 23.68 and 47.11 seconds. Cat's at Home, who raced three wide outside of Snake Mountain and Docent in the second flight, made a bid for the lead at the three-eighths pole.

Turning for home, Burning Roma began to tire and drift out, leaving a huge opening along the rail for Snake Mountain, who seized the lead at the three-sixteenths pole and turned back Windsor Castle and Docent in deep stretch. Snake Mountain covered the nine furlongs in 1:50.56 over a fast track and returned $9.40 to win.

"I was concerned a little bit about [Burning Roma] because the last time when he ran at The Meadowlands he was drifting out down the lane so I thought the best idea was to stay right behind him," Santos said. "As soon as he got into the middle of the turn he started getting out a little bit. I had the rail and [Snake Mountain] responded right away."

Jerkens said Snake Mountain may make his next start in the $100,000 Queens County Handicap on Dec. 7 over the inner track.

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