01/22/2004 12:00AM

Thunder Blitz injures foreleg

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OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Thunder Blitz, winner of the Grade 3 Queens County Handicap in December, suffered a crack in the sesamoid bone of his left foreleg and will be sidelined indefinitely.

Thunder Blitz left trainer Richard Dutrow Jr.'s Aqueduct barn earlier this week and will be given time off at owner Frank Stronach's Adena Springs South farm in Ocala, Fla. His connections hope they can get him back to the races later this year.

"We'll give him some time there and see how it goes," said Dan Hall, the general manager of Adena Springs' Kentucky division. "According to the vet, the prognosis is pretty good."

Thunder Blitz, a 6-year-old son of Holy Bull, began his career in the barn of Joe Orseno, for whom he won the Grade 3 Flamingo in 2001 at Hialeah and finished fourth in that year's Kentucky Derby. Last year, he was transferred to trainer Bobby Frankel, and won an allowance race at Aqueduct before suffering a foot injury. When he returned, he dropped five straight races.

When Frankel shipped his stable back to California for the winter, he left Thunder Blitz with Dutrow. In two starts for Dutrow, Thunder Blitz was beaten a neck in the Stuyvesant Handicap and won the Queens County. Thunder Blitz would have most likely been among the favorites for last Saturday's Aqueduct Handicap before the injury was detected.

"It looked like he was sitting on a good winter campaign up there," Hall said. "It's unfortunate."

Snake Mountain on the work tab

Snake Mountain, who has been plagued by foot trouble this fall and winter, worked four furlongs in 51.06 seconds Thursday over Belmont Park's training track. It was his first breeze since Dec. 1.

Snake Mountain dominated the proceedings in the handicap division here last winter, winning three stakes. After he bled in the Pimlico Special in May, Snake Mountain looked good winning an allowance race at Belmont on Oct. 26 but has not raced since. A badly bruised foot forced him to spend time at the New Jersey Equine Clinic.

"He went nicely, galloped out well, and pulled up soundly" in Thursday's work, said Shaffick Mohammed, the assistant to trainer Jimmy Jerkens. "We'll keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best. He came out of the work very well - he was full of himself in his stall."

Mohammed said it shouldn't take Snake Mountain long to come around. "He's one that comes to hand very quickly," Mohammed said. "He puts a lot into his gallops."

Lopez bags 3,000th victory

Jockey Chuck Lopez earned his 3,000th career victory Thursday when he guided Sunnyridge Sam to a six-length victory in a second-level New York-bred allowance race.

Lopez, 43, is the 113th rider to reach the 3,000-win plateau.

"All I can tell you is it feels pretty good to be among those numbers that have reached 3,000," said Lopez, who was born in Brooklyn. He spends his summers riding in New Jersey and his winters in New York. "I consider Aqueduct my home away from home. It's nice to be able to do it here where gracious hosts have me every winter, and I just hope I can keep performing at this level."

Lopez's 3,000th win came nearly 25 years to the date after his first career victory. Lopez rode his first winner, Foolish Tracy, on Jan. 15, 1979, at Keystone Park, which is now Philadelphia Park.

Lopez has won riding titles at Philadelphia Park, Monmouth, Atlantic City, and Garden State. Lopez comes from a riding family. His father, Carlos Sr., brother Carlos Jr., and cousin Jose Ferrer are also jockeys.

Lopez said he hopes to ride long enough to win 4,000 races.

"I'll ride for as long as there are speed horses to ride," he said.

Bridgmohan rides Don, not Tom

When Peeping Tom enters the starting gate for Saturday's $75,000 Paumonok Handicap, he will not have regular rider Shaun Bridgmohan on his back. That's because Bridgmohan will be riding Don Six in the six-furlong stakes. Ariel Smith will ride Peeping Tom.

According to Bridgmohan, he and his agent, Matt Muzikar, had already given a commitment to the connections of Don Six before being made aware that Peeping Tom was going to run. Bridgmohan had ridden Peeping Tom in 14 of his last 15 starts, dating back to the beginning of 2003. Bridgmohan was also aboard for Peeping Tom's victory in the Grade 1 Carter Handicap in 2001.

While Peeping Tom's form appears to be fading, Don Six is coming off the best race of his career. On Dec. 31, with Bridgmohan aboard for the first time, Don Six relaxed nicely while on the lead and ran six furlongs in 1:09.41, the fastest six furlongs run at this meet. He earned a career-best 104 Beyer Speed Figure.

"I like Don," Bridgmohan said. "He ran very, very well last time. He broke good, settled well, and when I asked him, he gave what he had."

Don Six may have taken the worst of it at the draw. He'll break from the rail and will probably be forced to go in a race filled with other speed types.