05/20/2003 12:00AM

For Spite the Devil, Belmont a no-go


ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Allen Jerkens has won three runnings of the Peter Pan and two of his winners, Virginia Rapids and Best of Luck, later ran in the Belmont Stakes.

Jerkens is running Withers winner Spite the Devil in Saturday's $200,000 Peter Pan at Belmont Park. But Spite the Devil is unlikely to run in the $1 million Belmont Stakes on June 7 because he is not nominated to the Triple Crown and would have to be supplemented for a fee of $100,000.

Spite the Devil, a New York-bred who finished second to Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide in two restricted stakes last year, wasn't nominated to the Triple Crown because Jerkens believed the horse would have distance limitations.

Spite the Devil so far hasn't proven Jerkens wrong. He hasn't won beyond a mile and has lost four starts around two turns.

At Aqueduct on May 3, Spite the Devil closed to win the one-mile Withers by a neck over Alysweep for his first stakes win. Jerkens put blinkers on Spite the Devil in the Grade 3 Withers.

"I think [the win] had more to do with how fast they went early, and when they slowed up, he got up," Jerkens said. "I was hoping he would run well, but I was surprised he ran that well."

Spite the Devil earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 96 for his Withers win.

The Grade 2 Peter Pan is run over one turn at 1 1/8 miles. Jerkens, who trained Spite the Devil's father, Devil His Due, and dam, Samantha D, said he has doubts about Spite the Devil getting the trip.

"His mother and his mother's mother favored shorter distances," Jerkens said. "His father went farther than he was bred to go, but he rated so kindly. Of course, this guy does too. We'll have to see."

Javier Castellano will ride Spite the Devil, who is owned by Jerkens's wife, Elisabeth.

Also expected in the Peter Pan are Alysweep, Christine's Outlaw, Go Rockin' Robin, Nacheezmo, and Supervisor.

Saarland 'on fence' for Met Mile

Saarland, the runner-up to Najran in the Westchester Handicap on opening day, is under consideration for Monday's Metropolitan Mile Handicap.

Saarland's trainer, Shug McGaughey, said Tuesday he "was on the fence" about running Saarland in the Grade 1 Met Mile. "I've given it some thought. I want to look at the weights," he said.

The weights were due out on Wednesday.

Saarland's record at a mile is 3-2-0 in five starts.

After Saarland finished second to Najran, who set the track record in the one-mile Westchester, McGaughey said he was pointing Saarland to the $250,000 Brooklyn, a Grade 2 stakes at 1 1/8 miles on June 14.

Saarland worked a half-mile in 48.90 seconds over the main track Tuesday, although the work wasn't recorded on the official work tab.

Congaree works a bullet

Congaree, the likely Met Mile favorite if he starts, worked a bullet five furlongs in 59.40 seconds at Churchill Downs on Tuesday.

Congaree's trainer, Bob Baffert, watched the work before heading back to California.

"He went easy," Baffert said. "I'll look at the weights and see how he comes out of the work. If he comes, the horse gets there Friday."

Baffert said Gary Stevens, who rode Congaree to victory in the Grade 1 Carter last month at Aqueduct, has the mount.

Other probable starters for the Met Mile are Aldebaran, Najran, Peeping Tom, Proud Citizen, Smooth Jazz, and Wake at Noon.

Belong to Sea points to Prioress

Belong to Sea, undefeated in three career starts after winning last Thursday's $100,000 Miss Preakness at Pimlico, will be pointed to the Grade 1 Prioress at Belmont Park on July 4.

Belong to Sea's trainer, Lisa Lewis, said the $200,000 Prioress gives the filly a nice amount of time in between races.

"It's the next logical spot," said Lewis, who won the 1992 Prioress with American Royale.

Besides her win in the Grade 3 Miss Preakness, Belong to Sea won her career debut at Aqueduct March 5. Twenty-five days later, she won a first-level allowance by 15 lengths. Both wins came on wet tracks. The track was fast for the Miss Preakness, which Belong to Sea won by a head.

"I was anxious to run her on a dry surface," Lewis said. "Her first two races were won easily. This time she had to dig down and fight. It was a good race for her."

Shawklit Mint tough despite layoff

A freshened Shawklit Mint returns Thursday as the one to beat in a $56,000 allowance race for older fillies and mares. The six-furlong race drew five entrants and will be run as the eighth race.

Shawklit Mint, trained by Pat Reynolds and owned by Flatbird Stable, won the restricted Broadway Handicap in her last start, on March 15 at Aqueduct.

During February at Aqueduct, Shawklit Mint won a money allowance, defeating Bonefide Reason, who is among her rivals on Thursday, and finished second in the Correction Handicap.

Richard Migliore rides Shawklit Mint, who drew the rail and shows three half-mile works for her return.

Two races after losing to Shawklit Mint, Bonefide Reason finished third in the Grade 2 Distaff Breeders' Cup Handicap behind Carson Hollow and Raging Fever.

Castellano rides Bonefide Reason from post 2.

Carnie's Dancer, who moves up on wet tracks, and Cantkeepfromsingin and Silk Concorde complete the field.