05/16/2002 11:00PM

Sunday Break able to beat the rain


ELMONT, N.Y. ? Sunday Break, the probable favorite for Saturday's $200,000 Peter Pan, worked Friday at Belmont Park.

In a time nearly identical to his work at Belmont on May 11, Sunday Break covered seven furlongs in 1:28.32, breezing, over the main track shortly after the harrowing break. The clockers said Sunday Break's early fractions were 26.27 seconds, 50.43, and 1:15.23.

In his last work, Sunday Break was accompanied by a workmate. Friday, he breezed alone.

Trainer Neil Drysdale, who was at Belmont for the work, said he moved the work up one day because rain was in the weekend forecast.

"He galloped out very well; I was pleased," Drysdale said. "He seems to like this racetrack."

Sunday Break, who is owned by Koji Maeda, hasn't raced since finishing third in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 13. The colt was being pointed to the Kentucky Derby, but lacked enough earnings in graded stakes to make the field. Drysdale decided to skip the Preakness in favor of the Grade 2 Peter Pan.

In 1992, Drysdale won the Peter Pan and Belmont Stakes with A. P. Indy.

A small field is taking shape for the 1 1/8-mile Peter Pan. Among those expected to face Sunday Break is Withers winner Fast Decision, Essayons, Heir D'Twine, and Puzzlement. Stephentown is also a possibility.

Essayons worked Friday at Belmont in 1:02.65 for five furlongs.

D'wildcat in strong Met Mile

The best race over the holiday weekend is likely to be the $750,000 Metropolitan Handicap on Memorial Day.

Grade 1 winners pointing to the Met Mile are Affirmed Success, Congaree, Left Bank, and Redattore.

Bob Hess, who trains D'wildcat, an expected Met Mile starter, said the competition isn't scaring him away.

"A year ago, this race was our goal," Hess said. "One of the reasons is a win solidifies one's position in the breeding shed."

D'wildcat was declared the winner of the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Handicap on Kentucky Derby Day after Snow Ridge was disqualified from first. The stewards ruled that Snow Ridge's rider, Mike Smith, struck D'wildcat in the face with his whip at the wire. The margin that separated Snow Ridge and D'wildcat at the finish was a neck.

"He ran super, regardless of the disqualification," Hess said. "He's getting back to where he was last year."

D'wildcat was sidelined with a sore shoulder not long after winning last year's Grade 3 Swale Stakes by 10 1/2 lengths. Hess was preparing D'wildcat for a return to the races in the summer, when the colt colicked. After nearly 12 months away, D'wildcat, who is owned by Fog City Stable, returned to the races in March at Santa Anita.

D'wildcat, who will be ridden by Jose Santos in the Met Mile, worked five furlongs in 1:01.56 at Belmont on Thursday.

Hess said that Azillion, who ran poorly in the Blue Grass last month as the third choice, will run in an allowance race at Hollywood Park this week. Depending upon the outcome, Azillion could be headed to New York for the Belmont Stakes on June 8.

Hess said his feeling is that Azillion didn't care for the Keeneland track when he finished last, beaten 31 1/2 lengths, in the Blue Grass.

"Until he runs back, that's only conjecture," Hess said.

Ing Ing challenges males in Jaipur

Ing Ing, a Group 3 winner against males in France last year, will meet the boys again in the $100,000-added Jaipur, a seven-furlong grass race on the Met Mile undercard.

Trained by Christophe Clement, Ing Ing, a 4-year-old, won an optional claimer at a mile on the grass in her last start at Gulfstream on April 5.

Ing Ing worked a half-mile over Belmont's turf Thursday in 50.25 seconds.

o Gary Sciacca received a 15-day suspension and was fined $1,000 after a horse he trains, Hristoforos, tested positive for lidocaine, a local anesthetic. Hristoforos tested positive after winning a race at Belmont last October. Sciacca appealed the suspension and a stay has been granted.

o Earlier in the week, the stewards issued a suspension to trainer Bill Mott for a lidocaine positive. Mott appealed the ruling.