06/26/2007 11:00PM

Suburban pits Jerkens vs. Jerkens


ELMONT, N.Y. - Allen Jerkens will be cast in his familiar role as David when he sends out Political Force in Saturday's Grade 1 Suburban Handicap. But in a bit of a departure from the norm, the role of Goliath will be played by his son, Jimmy Jerkens.

With the career-ending injury to Invasor, Corinthian, trained by the younger Jerkens, will be the horse to beat in Saturday's $400,000 Suburban at Belmont Park. Allen Jerkens won the Suburban three times, his first coming in 1962 when Beau Purple upset the mighty Kelso before 52,154 at Aqueduct.

Political Force isn't Beau Purple and Corinthian isn't Kelso, but a victory by the elder Jerkens would still be considered a big upset (as would a crowd of 52,154). Political Force, a son of Unbridled's Song out of the stakes-winning millionaire earner Glitter Woman, is coming off a second-place finish behind Corinthian in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap.

Both horses are jumping from a mile to 1 1/4 miles in the Suburban. Corinthian has been successful as far as 1 3/16 miles, while Political Force has not won beyond one mile. Political Force has tried 1 1/8 miles only twice, finishing second to Diamond Stripes in an allowance last year at Saratoga and third, one length behind A.P. Arrow, in the Skip Away at Gulfstream.

"He's a little bit short of that on breeding I would think," Allen Jerkens said of the 1 1/4 miles. "He ran a pretty good mile and an eighth in Florida."

Political Force is running in career form right now. He had a chip removed from an ankle following his loss to Diamond Stripes last year. He won a second-level allowance race at Gulfstream to begin the year before his third-place finish in the Skip Away in which he pressed a strong pace.

He lugged in while making what jockey Cornelio Velasquez thought was a winning move in the Westchester only to wind up second to Utopia. In the Met Mile, Political Force raced right behind Corinthian while four wide down the backstretch, before having to come out five wide for the stretch drive. He was continuously gaining on Corinthian, who had pressed the early pace.

"It was a quick race and we lost a lot of ground in the race," Jerkens said.

Sent out by another trainer, Political Force might not be considered a threat to win. But Jimmy Jerkens knows better.

"One thing about it, he'll be ready," he said.

Post positions were to be drawn on Thursday for the Suburban. Others definite to run include Fairbanks, Hesanoldsalt, and Malibu Moonshine. Evening Attire is possible.

Nafzger sends in Lady Joanne

Carl Nafzger may have kept his top 3-year-old colt out of the Belmont Stakes, but he is shipping his top 3-year-old filly in from Kentucky for Saturday's Grade 1 Mother Goose.

Lady Joanne, winner of three consecutive races, was scheduled to arrive Thursday for the Mother Goose, run at 1 1/8 miles over the main track. Lady Joanne, a daughter of Orientate, won the Grade 2 Golden Rod last year and the Grade 3 Dogwood earlier this month.

While the nine furlongs will be the farthest Lady Joanne has ever run, Nafzger is quite confident the distance is within her scope.

"She'll get the mile and an eighth okay," said Nafzger, who trains this year's Kentucky Derby winner, Street Sense. "I think I'm not too worried about that. It's if she's got the class."

Calvin Borel, who rode Street Sense to victory in the Derby, will ride Lady Joanne. The Mother Goose will have a short field that will also include Octave, Boca Grande, Pleasant Rhapsody, and possibly Bold Assurance.

Jazil to miss summer races

Jazil, the 2006 Belmont Stakes winner, missed the majority of the second half of his 3-year-old season due to bruising in a hind cannon bone. Now, he will miss an indefinite period of his 4-year-old season due to bruising in a front cannon bone.

An examination of Jazil at his owner Sheikh Hamdan's Shadwell Farm in Lexington, Ky., detected the bruising. Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said Jazil would spend at least three weeks on the farm, though he added "it could turn into more time."

Jazil is winless in three starts since last year's Belmont victory.

Vacare undergoes successful surgery

Multiple stakes winner Vacare returned to trainer Christophe Clement's barn on Wednesday after undergoing surgery to fix an entrapped epiglottis. The surgery was performed Monday by Dr. Patty Hogan at the New Jersey Equine Clinic.

Vacare, who won her first four starts, including the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup last fall at Keeneland, was scratched out of Saturday's Grade 2 New York Breeders' Cup due to the entrapment.

"The prognosis for racing is good," clement said. "She'll walk for a week to 10 days and we'll go from there."

Iron Goddess upsets Stage View

Motherhood appears to be agreeing with Iron Goddess.

Since being bred, Iron Goddess has reeled off two consecutive victories, including Wednesday's $69,750 Stage View Stakes by 1o1/2 lengths over Mohegan Sky. It was another 1 1/4 lengths back to favored Rewrite in third.

Drawing in from the also-eligible list, Iron Goddess ($53.50), under Channing Hill, outsprinted Wild Berry for the early lead, set modest fractions of 22.85 seconds, 45.82, and was never seriously threatened in the stretch. Iron Goddess, a 4-year-old daughter of More Than Ready owned by Barry Schwartz and trained by Mike Hushion, covered the seven furlongs in 1:20.90 over firm turf.

* When My Nina Rose ($46.80) won Wednesday's fourth race, it broke an 0-for-40 skid at the meet for trainer Gary Sciacca. Further, it broke a 0-for-50 slump in New York for Sciacca, whose last win on this circuit came with Wood Winner at Aqueduct on April 19.

* Rondo, winner of a second-level allowance race here on June 13, worked four furlongs in 51.72 seconds on Wednesday. He could run in the Tom Fool here on July 4 or the Vanderbilt at Saratoga on July 28.