06/17/2001 11:00PM

Sprint specialist Max's Pal gets a tune-up


OCEANPORT, N.J. - At six furlongs, Max's Pal is tough to beat. And with the way Max's Pal worked out last Saturday, it seems like the 4-year-old colt is primed for a huge effort in this Saturday's $75,000 six-furlong Longfellow Stakes at Monmouth Park.

Max's Pal, trained by Ben Perkins Jr., worked out for the first time since his runaway victory in the $150,000 James B. Moseley Breeders' Cup on June 2 at Suffolk Downs. Max's Pal, a son of Marquetry, worked four furlongs in 47.80 seconds on a fast track. The bullet workout was tied for the fastest of the morning.

Max's Pal, owned by Raymond Dweck, won five out of six at one point in his 3-year-old campaign, with all five wins coming at six furlongs. He won the Rumson Stakes here last year and was defeated a neck by Disco Rico in the Grade 3 Jersey Shore Breeders' Cup last June.

The win at Suffolk ended a two-race losing streak for Max's Pal, in which he took on top sprinters in the Grade 3 Bold Ruler and the Grade 1 Carter Handicap. The seven-furlong Carter, in which he finished fourth, was his first start in a Grade 1. For the time being, Max's Pal will stick with his preferred distance.

"The Carter was probably a little too tough for him," Perkins said. "He seemed to come together for his last race. We think he can take on most horses at six furlongs."

Five-win day for Lopez

Chuck Lopez started Sunday's card by winning both ends of the early double. By the end of the day, he had earned five wins, the highest by a jockey for any day at this meet.

"I knew I had some shots," he said. "But you just have to ride each race as it comes. The moment you try to change things, you end up forcing it."

Lopez won the fifth race aboard Special Virtue, and then took the sixth in the last strides with Given to Fly. While all his winners were fairly short prices, his last one produced a $29 winner with Trip Report.

"There were some helpful scratches and the race flow helped," Lopez said. "I have been riding with a lot of patience lately."

Several angles to ponder

Although there are only six horses entered for the Wednesday feature, a $39,000 second-level allowance at 1 1/16 miles for fillies and mares, the race contains a number of different angles for handicappers.

The "now" horse in the eighth race is Quixote's Hope, a 5-year-old mare trained by Patricia Farro. She has the highest Beyer (91) in the field, posted two races back. In her last race off a 2-1/2-month layoff, she placed over the slop, running a little slower than the previous high. With Wednesday's race as her second off a layoff, Quixote's Hope, who will be ridden by Jorge Duarte Jr., figures as the one to beat if she runs back to or near her top. She will break from post 5, getting in light with an apprentice weight of 114.

In terms of class, however, Bayou Blues has an edge after dropping in this spot from the $50,000 Politely Stakes. A 5-year-old daughter of Cure the Blues, Bayou Blues ran consistently in these conditions at Aqueduct before the Politely. Joe Bravo has the call for trainer Deborah Bodner. Bayou Blues, making her third start off a layoff, will carry 119 pounds.

The only horse with a win in her last start is Ima Halo. She will be making her first start for Peter Walder off the claim, and stepping up in class after racing in the lower level claiming ranks. Walder wins 23 percent of the time first off the claim. He also is a healthy 29 percent with horses in the 61-180-day layoff category. She will be ridden by Eibar Coa from post 2.

Rounding out the field are Jersey Tomato, jockey Jose Velez Jr.; Red Riccio, Felix Ortiz, and Love's Legacy, Chuck Lopez.