08/27/2004 11:00PM

Unforgettable expectations


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - When Unforgettable Max runs in Saturday's $250,000 Forego, he will be trying to do something his little brother has already done at the Saratoga meet, win a Grade 1.

Unforgettable Max, a 4-year-old, is a full brother to Afleet Alex, who swept the 2-year-old stakes for males at this meet, the Grade 2 Sanford and Grade 1 Hopeful.

Unforgettable Max hasn't been as successful as his younger sibling, but a win in the Forego certainly would help him emerge from Afleet Alex's shadow.

A son of Northern Afleet out of Maggy Hawk, Unforgettable Max will enter the seven-furlong Forego off a second-place finish to Presidentialaffair in the Grade 3 Salvator Mile at Monmouth Park on July 25. Unforgettable Max has finished in the money in several graded stakes, including the Grade 2 General George, Grade 2 Tom Fool, and Grade 3 Discovery, but has never won a stakes.

In what would have been Unforgettable Max's first stakes win, he was disqualified from first to fifth in the Frisk Me Now at Monmouth in May.

"I would like to win a stakes with him, because it would give him some residual value as a stallion," said Bruce Levine, Unforgettable Max's trainer. "I haven't seen [Afleet Alex] up close, but Max is one good-looking horse."

Among the other horses pointing to the Forego, the final Grade 1 at the meet, are A Huevo, Clock Stopper, Gold Dollar, Pohave, Pretty Wild, Strong Hope, Toccet, Watchem Smokey, and Yessirgeneralsir. Trainer Bobby Frankel planned on scratching Watchem Smokey from a Sunday allowance race because he didn't like his inside post and his 123-pound assignment.

Lukas: Azeri's loss 'tough to swallow'

Trainer D. Wayne Lukas on Saturday morning was still lamenting Azeri's 1 1/4-length loss to Storm Flag Flying in Friday's Grade 1 Personal Ensign Handicap. Azeri chased a hot pace established by Roar Emotion, hooked her after six furlongs run in 1:09.78 and battled gamely before giving way late.

"She came out of it fine," Lukas said. "Those are hard to swallow. When you see a horse try that hard, it just kills you to see them not win."

Lukas said he was a bit surprised that Azeri, under Pat Day, tackled the pace-setting Roar Emotion so early.

"We got into the race and there were very fast fractions," Lukas said. "We probably moved on those fractions too soon. In hindsight we would have ridden the race a lot differently. Yet in defeat, both horses were very, very, very impressive.''

Lukas said Azeri would be pointed to the $500,000 Spinster at Keeneland on Oct. 10.

Meanwhile, trainer Shug McGaughey said Storm Flag Flying "seemed to come back great." McGaughey said he will weigh several options for Storm Flag Flying's next start, including the Spinster, the Beldame at Belmont on Oct. 9, or simply training her up to the Breeders' Cup Distaff.

Spice Island now with Clement

Spice Island, a Grade 2 winner, will make her first start for trainer Christophe Clement in the $100,000 Glens Falls on Sept. 5.

Previously trained by John Pregman, Spice Island was transferred by his owner, Kurt Butenhoff, to Clement on Aug. 14.

"She's had two breezes since she has come to me, and seems to be doing well," said Clement, who won the Glens Falls last year with Sixty Seconds.

Jerry Bailey will ride Spice Island in the Glens Falls, a 1 3/8-mile grass race.

Clement might also run Where We Left Off, who won the Grade 3 Matchmaker at Monmouth in her last start, in the Grade 3 Glens Falls.

"It's a possibility, but subject to the weather," said Clement, who noted Where We Left Off prefers a firm turf.

Fait Accompli nears return

Fait Accompli, a stakes-placed filly trained by Tom Bush, is likely to return to the races in Wednesday's $65,000 Saratoga Dew.

The Saratoga Dew is for 3-year-olds and older New York-bred fillies and mares and will be run at 1 1/8 miles on the dirt.

Fait Accompli hasn't run since finishing third in the Busanda Stakes at Aqueduct on Jan. 25. After the Busanda, the 3-year-old received a freshening at her owner Doug Koch's farm in Pine Plains, N.Y., Berkshire Stud.

"She had a pretty hard campaign as a 2-year-old," Bush said. "I would rather come back at seven furlongs than a mile and an eighth, but she has had a lot of training and wants to go long."

Bush also nominated Judy Soda, who came into his barn three weeks ago after the death of trainer Lou Mettinis. Bush said Judy Soda is more likely to run in the $75,000 New York Oaks at Finger Lakes on Sept. 6.

Buy the Sport retired

Buy the Sport, winner of the Grade 1 Gazelle last year, has been retired, owner Peter Minikes said Friday. Buy the Sport had only raced once this year, a last-place finish in a turf allowance race at Belmont Park.

"She just went wrong," Minikes said. "She never really was right since she came back from the farm. There's no sense going on with her."

Buy the Sport, a New York-bred daughter of Devil's Bag-Final Accord, by D'Accord, began her racing career in Europe. She made her North American debut last September at Belmont, where she won the Gazelle at 47-1. She ended the year by finishing third in the Beldame and fifth in the Breeders' Cup Distaff.

Buy the Sport retires with a record of 3-0-1 from 12 career starts and earnings of $356,705. Minikes said it has not yet been decided to whom Buy the Sport will be bred.

Minikes said Indy Five Hundred, who won the Grade 1 Garden City the day after Buy the Sport won the Gazelle, will be forced to skip Monday's Ballston Spa Breeders' Cup because of a fever. Indy Five Hundred has not run since finishing last in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup last October at Keeneland.- additional reporting by David Grening