01/07/2006 1:00AM

Achilles of Troy relishes route


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - With Achilles of Troy coming off an authoritative maiden win sprinting on Dec. 29, trainer Jennifer Pedersen said she thought it would have been prudent to keep the 3-year-old colt sprinting.

But owner Ernie Paragallo felt differently and decided to wheel him back in Saturday's Count Fleet Stakes at a mile and 70 yards.

Achilles of Troy, a son of Notebook, rewarded Paragallo's confidence by romping to a 14-length victory in the $74,880 before a crowd of 3,831 at Aqueduct. Extra Bend, who was supplemented to the race, rallied for second, 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Platinum Couple. Trailing Twelve, the 2-1 favorite, finished fourth.

Not only did Achilles of Troy win by 14, he set a stakes record with a time of 1:39.61, just .69 of a second off the track record.

"I wasn't worried even in the slightest,'' Paragallo said about his horse's ability go a route of ground. "I know he will run as far as he wants to run. I know he will run a mile and a quarter.''

Breaking from post 9 under Alan Garcia, Achilles of Troy fell into a dream trip. Hi It's Me and Masai Warrior dueled heads apart through a half-mile in 46.10 seconds while Achilles of Troy was two lengths back in third.

Entering the far turn, Garcia sent Achilles of Troy after the leaders and he catapulted past those two in a matter of strides midway around the turn. Achilles of Troy steamrolled through the stretch, the only knock being he finished the race on his wrong lead.

"I'm very surprised he could win like that,'' said Garcia, who also won last year's Count Fleet aboard Scrappy T. "He was relaxed behind horses. He's still learning, but he was very impressive to win like that.''

Achilles of Troy had made four previous starts, two sprinting and two going long. Two starts back, he finished fourth behind Trailing Twelve, but Pedersen said he bled in that race. He is now 2 for 2 on Lasix.

The next race for 3-year-olds in New York is the Whirlaway on Feb. 11, but Paragallo said he had not decided if Achilles of Troy would stay here or ship out of town.