06/23/2002 11:00PM

Will he be chip off the old block?


OCEANPORT, N.J. - If something works, stick to it.

That's what happened with the breeding of Forest Wildcat to Penniless Heiress. So far, they have produced stakes winner Forest Heir, now a 4-year-old, and multiple graded-stakes winner Forest Heiress, a 3-year-old.

Their 2-year-old full brother, Wildcat Heir, makes his debut Wednesday in the third race at Monmouth Park and trainer Ben Perkins Jr. is hoping he runs like his siblings.

Penniless Heiress, born in 1992, had 2 wins in 5 starts in her short career. She was a half-sister to On to Royalty, who was trained by Ben Perkins Sr. One of On to Royalty's foals was Preakness winner Louis Quatorze. Perkins Jr. said the quality was there in the breeding and that was what encouraged Everett Novak of New Farm to purchase Penniless Heiress as a broodmare. New Farm owned Forest Wildcat, who earned nearly $500,000 and has become a very good young stallion, and the match with Penniless Heiress has been outstanding. Right now, she is in foal to Giant's Causeway.

Forest Heir, the first foal out of Penniless Heiress, is a multiple-stakes winner and recently won an allowance here for Perkins. Forest Heiress won the Grade 3 Sorority here last year while in Perkins's barn, but she was sold to Stonerside Stable a few months ago and is now trained by Bill Mott. Perkins said Wildcat Heir is "a real handsome colt" and the whole family has a strong resemblance to each other, in respect to their bay coat.

Wildcat Heir has been working very well over the track, including a rapid four-furlong gate workout in 48.00 seconds on June 18, and he should be a heavy favorite Wednesday.

"We haven't asked him for a tremendous amount of speed in his workouts," Perkins said. "We're looking forward to his debut."

Mountaineer apprentice relocates

Apprentice jockey Rey Hernandez, who has been riding at Mountaineer Park, will join the Monmouth riding colony Wednesday.

Hernandez, 21, began his riding career at Churchill Downs and won his first two races at Hoosier Park. His apprentice allowance began Feb. 5. In the Mountaineer Park meeting that began Jan. 12, Hernandez had a record of 17-28-28 in 323 mounts.

Hernandez said he first began riding horses at the age of 8 in his native Guatemala, and eventually moved here in 1997 and began exercising horses in Ohio one year later. Hernandez has never been to Monmouth before and said he plans to make it his riding home for years to come.

"I plan to stay here and see how things go for a while," Hernandez said.

Merlin Alston, who will have Hernandez's book, indicated he hopes to get mounts for his client with such trainers as Norman Pointer, Derek Ryan, and Manuel Berrios.

Hernandez's first mount here is in the last race Wednesday aboard T.J.'s Granny for Berrios.

Classy filly wins debut at a price

Despite being a $525,000 yearling purchase by Padua Stables at the Fasig-Tipton August sales at Saratoga in 2001, Freedom's Daughter was sent off at 4-1 in the first race Sunday - the second 2-year-old filly maiden special weight of the meet.

Freedom's Daughter ($11.80) broke to the lead under Dale Beckner and led every step of the way, only to open up down the stretch to win by nearly eight lengths. She covered five furlongs in 58.18 over a fast track, which was nearly two seconds faster than the first maiden 2-year-old filly race on May 30 won by Mike's Wildcat. That race, over a track that was playing slowly, went in 1:00.12.

Freedom's Daughter, a Pennsylvania-bred daughter of Saint Ballado, may have been overlooked because she was making her debut at Monmouth rather than at Belmont with trainer Todd Pletcher's main stable. But assistant trainer Anthony Sciametta, who oversees the Pletcher barn here, said she was at Monmouth not because she didn't belong with Pletcher's main stable.

"She was originally in New York with Todd," Sciametta said. "He had an overflow of horses there and she came here when he sent some down."

Freedom's Daughter had been working very well leading up to the races and Sciametta said he expected her to run well.

"She was getting progressively better with every time she worked out," he said. "She worked out like she had a lot of ability and we were expecting a big race."

Hit the Trail resumes training

Hit the Trail generated a lot of buzz last summer with his rapid workouts as a 2-year-old for trainer John Mazza. Hit the Trail, a Jersey-bred, was unable to make his debut at Monmouth, but when he appeared at Gulfstream Park in the winter as a 3-year-old, he was very impressive in winning his maiden first time out, and then running second in an allowance.

Hit the Trail popped a splint before coming to Monmouth, Mazza said, but has recovered well and returned to the track Monday. Mazza said Hit the Trail should be ready to return to the races in the next month or two.

Mazza also reported that 3-year-old Wild Navigator, who ran third in the Grade 3 Sapling last year, came out of his 2002 debut here June 16, in a Jersey-bred allowance, in good shape. Wild Navigator was sent off as the 3-5 favorite but tired quickly near the pace and finished sixth.

Mazza said Wild Navigator was not injured and may not have been primed enough for his first start since the Sapling last August.

"I would have liked him to have one more workout," Mazza said. "He'll be fine and bounce back from this and make some money this summer."

Mazza had a very solid crop of 2-year-olds last year, with Capture the Silver and Wild Navigator both starting in the Sapling. He has eight 2-year-olds this summer, but a virus that has swept the backside has hit Mazza's barn badly. He said four have come down with the bug, although they have been fortunate enough to escape fevers.