07/23/2004 12:00AM

Unforgettable Max can keep Levine hot


OCEANPORT, N.J. - New York-based trainer Bruce Levine is enjoying a sensational season at Monmouth Park.

Through Friday, Levine's Monmouth division was winning at a 41 percent clip, with 11 victories from only 27 starters. Equally impressive, Levine's runners have hit the board 81 percent of the time.

A key to that success has been shrewd placement of horses, and Levine appears right on target again Sunday with Unforgettable Max in the Grade 3, $100,000 Salvator Mile. A 4-year-old Northern Afleet colt, Unforgettable Max looks like a very solid fit based on class, distance, and success over the surface.

And a small field never hurts.

Unforgettable Max faces only five rivals in the Salvator Mile, which will be televised on ESPN's "Road to the World Thoroughbred Champion-ships" from 5-6 p.m. Eastern.

This will be Unforgettable Max's second trip to Monmouth this season. He finished first in the one-mile Frisk Me Now Stakes on opening weekend, but was disqualified for interference and placed last.

He shortened up for his next outing, a third-place finish in the Grade 2 Tom Fool Handicap at seven furlongs at Belmont Park.

"He didn't run as well as we expected," said Levine. "He bled a little bit and we've worked on that. We also happened to run into Ghostzapper."

Now, it's back to Monmouth, where Unforgettable Max has won twice in four starts.

"This race kind of fell into the schedule," said Levine, who also considered running the horse in a sprint at Saratoga.

Unforgettable Max, ridden by Eibar Coa, carries 117 pounds.

Also at 117 is Presidentialaffair. The rainy weekend forecast is welcome news for Presidentialaffair, who owns two wins and a second in four off-track efforts.

He most recently romped to a front-running 7 3/4-length win in Monmouth's Skip Away Stakes in the slop. Stewart Elliott will ride for trainer Martin Ciresa.

Crafty Shaw totes top weight of 118 pounds. The 6-year-old has won 15 career races and earned more than $1 million.

Craig Perret will ride Crafty Shaw for trainer Peter Vestal.

Cherry Pickings (114 pounds), Roaring Fever (113), and Polish Pride (113) complete the field.

War's Prospect finds his spot

Trainer Bill Anderson has been looking for the ideal spot for New Jersey-bred War's Prospect. The $55,000 Anderson Fowler Stakes at five furlongs on the turf Sunday might be the desired fit.

Anderson wants to run War's Prospect only in races for 3-year-olds, and that has forced War's Prospect into some tough spots recently.

He twice encountered Allen Jerkens's tough sprinter Smokume, running second to that rival in the off-the-turf Gilded Time Stakes at Monmouth and third in the Ogygian Stakes at Belmont.

Anderson turned to turf for the Restoration Stakes, and War's Prospect could not keep pace with the speedy Frisky Spider over the course of a mile.

War's Prospect, who has one win in six starts this year, should find this an easier assignment.

"He's got some turf breeding, and he handled the turf real well in the Restoration," said Anderson. "I wouldn't be unhappy if it came off. He's doing well now, and he hasn't really run a bad race."

Joe Bravo, Monmouth's leading rider and one of the track's top grass jockeys, has the mount.

With 12 grass victories, Bravo is tied with Eibar Coa for most turf wins at the meet. Coa rides Quick Action in the stakes for trainer D. Wayne Lukas.