05/06/2003 11:00PM

Summer Colony cranks up


ELMONT, N.Y. - Summer Colony, among the leaders in her division last year, will make her 5-year-old debut in the $150,000 Pimlico Breeders' Cup Distaff Handicap on May 16.

Last year, Summer Colony won the Grade 3 Pimlico Distaff by a nose over Dancethruthedawn.

Trained by Mark Hennig, Summer Colony had a superb year in 2002, winning graded stakes at four tracks, including the Grade 1 Personal Ensign at Saratoga and the Grade 3 Delaware Handicap. Owned by Edward P. Evans, Summer Colony also won the Grade 2 La Canada at Santa Anita, handing 2002 Horse of the Year Azeri her sole defeat last year.

Summer Colony ended her 4-year-old campaign on a downer with a last-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Distaff at Arlington Park on Oct. 26. Hennig said she came out of the race with a fungal eye infection that is believed to be from mud that worked its way into her eye during the Distaff.

"We had a little deal with the eye and it had to be treated," Hennig said in his Belmont Park office Wednesday morning. "Her vision is fine."

Hennig acknowledged that the 1 1/16-mile Pimlico Distaff is a bit short for Summer Colony, who won two 1 1/4-mile races last year, but said it's a good place to get started.

"She's been breezing since February; she will be ready," Hennig said. "She's obviously at her best at a mile and an eighth and beyond. Our main objectives this summer are the mile-and-quarter races she won last year, the Delaware race and the Personal Ensign."

City Sister begins stakes career

Hennig will launch the stakes career of another one of Evans's horses, City Sister, on Saturday at Belmont in the $200,000 Nassau County Breeders' Cup at seven furlongs.

City Sister, a daughter of Carson City, has won 2 of 3 starts. She won her last start by seven lengths in a first-level allowance race on April 19 at Aqueduct.

"It's not a conservative move to run [Saturday,] but it's a graded stakes without a big field and she could earn black-type," Hennig said. "We think she will be that caliber of filly. Whether she is ready now, we'll see."

Other probables for the Grade 2 Nassau County are Cyber Secret, House Party, Randaroo, Double Scoop, and Uphill Skier.

Halo Homewrecker's next: Riva Ridge

Hennig reported that Bay Shore winner Halo Homewrecker, who finished sixth as the favorite in last Saturday's Withers Stakes, came out of the race fine and will be pointed to the $250,000 Riva Ridge Breeders' Cup on June 7, Belmont Stakes Day.

Halo Homewrecker, who was ridden by John Velazquez, raced close to the pace down the backstretch in the one-mile Withers and came up empty in the stretch.

"I didn't like the trip too much; I'd rather he would relax and make a run," Hennig said. "He came away from the gate like he wanted to do that, but somehow ended up chasing the pace."

Peeping Tom in Met Mile

Peeping Tom, who finished fourth in Saturday's Churchill Downs Handicap, will try to make up for his narrow defeat in the 2001 Metropolitan Handicap when he runs in that Grade 1 race on May 26.

Peeping Tom had plenty of traffic trouble in the Churchill Downs race, Reynolds said, and ran only an eighth of a mile in the seven-furlong race. He was beaten by three lengths by the winner, Aldebaran.

"He had traffic for three-quarters of a mile, wheeled out at the eighth pole, and almost finished second,'' Reynolds said. "He was behind an absolute wall of horses turning for home. Shaun [Bridgmohan] did a good job to get a check. He had nowhere to go early.''

Reynolds remembers the 2001 Met Mile, when Peeping Tom appeared to pull himself up after making the lead at the eighth pole. He was beaten three-quarters of a length by 56-1 shot Exciting Story.

"I thought we snatched defeat from the jaws of victory,'' Reynolds said.

Reynolds said that Alysweep, the second-place finisher in the Withers, would be pointed to either the Riva Ridge or the Leonard Richards Stakes at Delaware Park on June 14.

Chavez nearly wins comebacker

Jockey Jorge Chavez's return to the saddle in Wednesday's opener at Belmont Park nearly ended up in a visit to the winner's circle. Chavez finished second aboard Friday's a Comin', beaten a head by Sejm Boojie, who was ridden by Norberto Arroyo Jr.

Chavez hadn't ridden since March 15 when his mount Midway Cat broke down at the quarter pole in the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park. Chavez was thrown hard to the ground and badly hurt his back.

"My back is in good shape," Chavez said in the jockeys' room after the first race. "I missed riding so much. I was miserable. It feels good to be back."

Chavez, who had five mounts on Wednesday's card, also finished second aboard Virgin Voyage in the third.

Arroyo spill ends with hospital trip

Arroyo was unseated coming out of the starting gate in the fourth race when his mount, Shoo Brush, stumbled badly. Arroyo took off his remaining mounts and was sent to North Shore University Hospital for precautionary X-rays, but was believed to have escaped serious injury.

Arroyo's agent, John Kolb, said the rider had swelling on the side of his neck as a result of Shoo Brush clipping him with his hoof.

Captain Red goes to Bond's barn

Captain Red, who set the track record for six furlongs over Aqueduct's inner track on Feb. 26, has a new trainer. Jim Bond became the 6-year-old's trainer a week ago, replacing Dimitrios Synnefias.

Captain Red was nominated to Saturday's Bold Ruler, but will not run. "I don't know a whole lot about him, but he needs a little bit more time before he runs," Bond said.

Captain Red, owned by Anthony Pyliotis, finished third in the Grade 3 Toboggan Handicap in his last start on March 15.

The Bond-trained Nacheezmo, who worked a bullet five furlongs in 1:01.62 at Saratoga on Tuesday, is stakes-bound for his next start.

Bond said he is considering the $150,000 Marine Stakes at Woodbine on May 17 or the $200,000 Peter Pan, a week later at Belmont.

Nacheezmo won a first-level allowance race at a mile by 13 lengths in his last start on April 12 at Aqueduct. In his previous start, Nacheezmo won a maiden race at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 8, beating Dynever, the most-talked about 3-year-old who didn't run in the Kentucky Derby. Dynever is scheduled to run in the Lone Star Derby this weekend.

- additional reporting by David Grening