06/13/2004 11:00PM

Two stars consider Suburban


ELMONT, N.Y. - Peace Rules, beaten nine lengths when fourth in Saturday's Stephen Foster Handicap run over a sloppy Churchill Downs track, may come right back in three weeks in the $500,000 Suburban Handicap on July 3 at Belmont Park, trainer Bobby Frankel said.

Frankel attributed Peace Rules's performance in the Foster to the off going, saying "he's never run good on an off-track before.'' Peace Rules is 0 for 3 on a wet track and 5 for 9 on a fast track.

Should he run in the Grade 1 Suburban, Peace Rules would be trying to win at 1 1/4 miles for the first time. In his two other tries at the distance, Peace Rules was third, beaten 1 3/4 lengths in the 2003 Kentucky Derby, and second, beaten 4 1/2 lengths in the Travers at Saratoga.

"He didn't run bad in the Travers, he got hooked all the way, you know,'' Frankel said.

Should Peace Rules run in the Suburban, he may face Seattle Fitz, who won Saturday's Brooklyn Handicap impressively. Seattle Fitz ran nine furlongs in 1:46.30 - a final time that equaled the stakes record for nine furlongs - while outdueling Newfoundland early and holding off Dynever late. Seattle Fitz earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 113 for the Brooklyn.

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said Monday that while running back in the Suburban is his first option, he could elect to wait for the Grade 1, $750,000 Whitney Handicap at Saratoga on Aug. 7. McLaughlin also mentioned the $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup at Hollywood Park on July 10 as a slight possibility.

"That was his lifetime best race,'' McLaughlin said. "We'll see how he's eating, see how he's training. The Suburban is a strong possibility, but it is a little quick back off such a huge effort.''

McLaughlin said he was most impressed by the way Seattle Fitz kept going after running six furlongs in 1:08.56.

"It was one of the most explosive races I've ever trained a horse for,'' McLaughlin said. "I would have settled for second at the three-eighths pole when they threw up that 1:08-and-two. Richie [Migliore] has a lot of confidence in him and swears he could go at a high-cruising speed.''

Hollywood seeks Sands top pair

The connections of Mambo Slew and Lucifer's Stone, the one-two finishers in Sunday's Grade 3 Sands Point Handicap, are both under consideration for the Grade 1, $750,000 American Oaks at Hollywood Park on July 3. Both fillies have already been extended invitations, their connections said.

Mambo Slew overcame some traffic trouble to rally up the rail to nail Lucifer's Stone by a neck in the Sands Point. Mambo Slew, a daughter of Kingmambo, is 4 for 6 on turf with victories in the Grade 3 Miesque and ungraded Blue Norther on her resume.

"It's been under consideration since she won the Miesque,'' trainer Patrick Biancone said about the Oaks. "It's a question of how she recovers in the next three weeks and we'll play it by ear. She's a very talented animal.''

Biancone believes Mambo Slew should be unbeaten on turf. She was beaten three-quarters of a length in the China Doll in a race where she was uncharacteristically on the lead. She was then beaten nine lengths in the Providencia when blocked most of the stretch.

Meanwhile, Lucifer's Stone had a three-race winning streak snapped in the Sands Point. Lucifer's Stone was making her first start since winning the Appalachian at Keeneland on April 14. Trainer Linda Rice believes Lucifer's Stone was too keen and made the lead too early in the Sands Point.

"`She didn't have the best of trips, she lost a lot of ground and was a little rank; too sharp off the layoff,'' Rice said. "I'm a little concerned with getting her to settle at the moment. She's better off when she's down inside and covered up. I'm considering taking off the blinkers.''

Rice said Lucifer's Stone was given an invitation to the Hollywood Oaks following the Appalachian. "Had we won we'd be considering it and frankly, getting beat a neck we're still considering it,'' Rice said. "We'll see how she is in the next 10 days.''

Strong Hope possible for Tom Fool

Strong Hope, who finished third as the favorite in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap, is being considered for the Grade 2, $150,000 Tom Fool Handicap at seven furlongs on July 4, trainer Todd Pletcher said.

Strong Hope came out of the Met Mile with a lung infection, Pletcher said. Sunday, he was credited with a five-furlong move in 1:02.47, though Pletcher said Strong Hope was actually working four furlongs.

"He seems to be doing good, the Tom Fool is a possibility,'' said Pletcher, who is also considering running Lion Tamer in that same race.

Pletcher said that Pollard's Vision and Limehouse, second and sixth, respectively, in Saturday's Ohio Derby, are candidates for the Dwyer Stakes run here on July 11 and the Leonard Richards run at Delaware Park on July 18.

Pletcher said he was "puzzled'' by Limehouse's performance. Though Jose Santos told Pletcher that Limehouse appeared to take an awkward step at the three-eighths pole, he came out of the race fine.

"I'm puzzled by his finish because he's a very consistent, hard-trying horse that always gives you a run,'' Pletcher said.

Pletcher said that Pollard's Vision ran well considering he probably didn't like being on the inside early. Pollard's Vision made the lead near the quarter pole, but Pletcher felt "he had to work hard to get there.''

Balto Star, another graded stakes winner trained by Pletcher, is being pointed to a defense of his United Nations Handicap victory from a year ago at Monmouth Park. Sunday, Balto Star worked six furlongs in 1:13.45 over the Belmont turf course. Balto Star has been sidelined since March due to filling in his right front ankle that knocked him out of the Pan American Handicap.

Ashado, the Kentucky Oaks winner, worked six furlongs in 1:14.10 Sunday morning and remains on schedule for the Mother Goose on June 26, Pletcher said.

One winner in tough pick six

There was one winning ticket sold on Sunday's pick six which returned $654,316. The winning wager was placed through a Las Vegas hub, but not necessarily by a Las Vegas resident. There was a $225,814 carryover entering Sunday's card.

The sequence of 2-3-2-5-5-2 consisted of Private Boot ($11.80), Clarksburg Queen ($8.90), Love and Kris's ($6.30), Mighty Gulch ($10.60), Mambo Slew ($12), and Robyns Gold Charm ($88.50).

Love and Kris's was the only favorite in the sequence. Three others were the third betting choices in their races. Mighty Gulch was the fourth choice in a six-horse field, and Robyns Gold Charm was the 11th choice in a 12-horse field.

There were 168 consolation tickets (5 of 6) that returned $850 each.