05/13/2006 12:00AM

Tiger takes over in sprint


ELMONT, N.Y. - After Tiger bowed a tendon for the second time in his career in the spring of 2004, veterinarians told the geldings' owner, Susan Moore, that the horse should be retired from racing.

Moore, who owns Tiger with her husband, John, was not one to give up that easily, and instructed Dr. Patty Hogan of the New Jersey Equine Clinic to "do everything you possibly can for him."

Whatever Hogan did appears to have worked, as Tiger is rapidly developing into the fastest older sprinter on the East Coast. On Saturday, Tiger rolled past pacesetting Bishop Court Hill just outside the eighth pole and drew clear to a 3 1/2-length victory in the Grade 3, $104,700 before 5,423 at Belmont Park.

It was the third victory in four starts this year for Tiger, a 5-year-old son of Storm Boot. Saturday's final time of 1:08.49 made for the fourth-fastest Bold Ruler in 31 runnings of the race.

Jockey Eibar Coa said he was quite confident entering the Bold Ruler following a 7 1/4-length allowance win at Aqueduct on April 13, when Tiger ran six furlongs in 1:08.40.

"For sure I was waiting for this race for him to prove to me I was right, and he did today," Coa said. "I knew he had been doing good in the morning, but today in the race, the way he did it - very professional - he really proved he could be any kind of horse. I believe this summer he might be one of the best sprinters in the country."

After Pisgah broke slowly, Bishop Court Hill got loose on the lead through fractions of 21.55 seconds and 44.02 for the half-mile. Tiger, trained by Jimmy Jerkens, stalked the speed from second before taking command in upper stretch. Tiger returned $5 to win.

Dark Cheetah rallied to get second, 1 3/4 lengths ahead of Bishop Court Hill. Papua and Pisgah completed the order of finish.

Susan Moore said Tiger would be pointed to the $500,000 Smile Sprint Handicap at Calder on July 15, with a possible start in the $200,000 True North Handicap here on June 10, Belmont Stakes Day.