02/05/2007 1:00AM

Achilles of Troy resurfaces


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - The connections of Achilles of Troy believe the colt hardly scratched the surface of his talent last year when he reeled off three wins in 45 days to establish himself as an early contender on the Kentucky Derby trail.

An injury, however, dashed those Derby dreams in March. Sidelined by injury for the last 11 months, Achilles of Troy, an older and seemingly more imposing physical specimen, will kick off his 4-year-old campaign Wednesday in a third-level allowance race at Aqueduct. The $50,000 race, to be run at a mile and 70 yards over the inner track, drew a field of five.

A maiden sprint victory plus dominant wins in the Count Fleet and Whirlaway stakes put Achilles of Troy high up on list of contenders for the 2006 Kentucky Derby. He finished fifth as the 3-2 favorite in the Gotham and was vanned off after the race. He returned to the work tab 10 days later, but had to be stopped on due to issues with a front leg.

According to Ernie Paragallo, the authorized agent for his family-run Paraneck Stable, Achilles of Troy had been treated with a liniment called Beagle oil, which resulted in the horse having burns on his legs and his suspensory ligament.

"[Dr. Larry] Bramlage said he had third-degree burns on his legs," Paragallo said. "There was a lot of swelling in his suspensory; he couldn't tell if there was damage in the suspensory or not. It didn't show any tear, but it showed swelling."

Achilles of Troy returned to the track in September and jogged for two months before beginning serious training. He has filled out body-wise and has been breezing a lot more vigorously than he did as a 3-year-old.

"It's like night and day - he doesn't look like anything like he used to," Paragallo said. "I don't even think he touched on his talent last year. [Ramon] Dominguez said when he breezed him, if he ran the races he did last year the way he was training last year - he was a lazy son of a [gun] - he said it's scary to think how good he is now."

Dominguez is nursing a swollen right knee sustained in a spill last week and is unable to ride Achilles of Troy. Eddie Martin Jr. will ride from the rail.

Achilles of Troy should be up close, but there is plenty of pace in this compact field, including Songofthesailor and Take the Bluff, who beat Belmont Stakes winner Jazil in his last start.