Updated on 09/18/2011 1:46AM

Achilles of Troy is working for a comeback


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Achilles of Troy, one of the fast risers and equally fast crashers on the 2006 Triple Crown trail, is working his way toward a comeback in 2007. On Dec. 17, he breezed three furlongs in 37.45 seconds over Aqueduct's inner track.

It was the first timed workout for Achilles of Troy in nine months. He has not raced since finishing fifth in the Gotham Stakes here on March 18, a race from which he was vanned off the track. Though Achilles of Troy returned to training and actually worked six furlongs 11 days after the Gotham, he has been sidelined since with soft-tissue damage to a front leg.

Trainer Alan Klanfer said Saturday that Achilles of Troy returned to his Aqueduct barn in September and jogged for at least seven weeks before he actually began to gallop.

"There was no timetable for him to make it back so we gave him some extra time," said Klanfer, who is the private trainer for Ernie Paragallo's family-run Paraneck Stable. "Without him wearing blinkers he's lazy in the morning. He just went along in a high gallop."

Klanfer said Achilles of Troy would not be ready to run any sooner than February and added that no spot has been picked out for his return. Achilles of Troy is eligible for a third-level allowance race.

Achilles of Troy, a son of Notebook, emerged as a potential Kentucky Derby contender after winning the Count Fleet by 14 lengths and the Whirlaway by 4 1/2 lengths last winter over the inner track. He was also at the center of a soap opera among Paragallo and trainers Jennifer Pedersen and Frank Amonte Jr. After Paragallo and Pedersen split up, Amonte took over the training of Achilles of Troy, but subsequently lost his trainer's license after failing a drug test administered by the stewards.

Pedersen and Amonte have both since attempted to open public stables with limited success.

Johannesburg Star connections say no sale

Trainer Joseph Parker said he and owner Parbod Bisnalth turned down $2 million for their 2-year-old maiden winner Johannesburg Star. Parker said the offer came from an agent based in Southern California.

"We ain't going to sell him," Parker said Saturday. "We had a bunch of people call but we weren't paying them much attention. A small guy like me, how many chances do we get at a horse like this?"

Johannesburg Star caused a stir after winning a maiden race by 9 1/2 lengths on Jan. 2 at Aqueduct. He earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 102, the third highest figure earned by a 2-year-old in 2006.

Parker said Johannesburg Star remains on course to make his next start in the $65,000 Count Fleet Stakes on Jan. 6.

Parker said he has trained Johannesburg Star lightly since his victory, alternating between jogging and galloping him. The colt will likely work next weekend.

"So far we're going just the way we want to," said Parker, who has worked for trainers Bruce Levine and Anthony Dutrow. "He's doing really good."

Lawrence the Roman to wait for Whirlaway

One horse Johannesburg Star won't have to worry about facing in the Count Fleet is Lawrence the Roman, the undefeated New York-bred who won the Damon Runyon Stakes by 11 lengths on Dec. 10.

Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. said Saturday that Lawrence the Roman will point to the $65,000 Whirlaway Stakes here on Feb. 10.

Lawrence the Roman has won all three of his races by a combined 25 1/4 lengths, but Dutrow said he wasn't interested in the Count Fleet because he wanted to give the colt more time. Lawrence the Roman, a son of Point Given, earned a 96 Beyer Speed Figure for his Damon Runyon score.

"He ran big going two turns, but he didn't beat nothing," Dutrow said. "I'm not getting excited about things till I have to."

Contessa looks to finish strong

Gary Contessa, who has gone 22 for 79 since the inner track opened on Nov. 29, will be a major player in the final two stakes of 2006 as well as the first stakes of 2007.

Contessa will send out Successful Affair in Saturday's $65,000 Gallant Fox Handicap, Accountforthegold in Sunday's Alex Robb Handicap for New York-breds, and Magnolia Jackson in the $65,000 Interborough Handicap, the New Year's Day feature.

Despite being a son of the noted sprinter Successful Appeal, Successful Affair has turned into a marathon runner, winning a two-mile allowance race and the Coyote Lakes Handicap at 1 1/2 miles. On Friday, he worked a leisurely five furlongs in 1:03.59.

Accountforthegold will meet New York-breds for just the third time in his career when he runs in the Robb. Accountforthegold, who won the 2005 New York Derby at Finger Lakes, has won his last two starts, including the Grade 3 Stuyvesant Handicap. He has earned triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures in his last two outings, including a 109 winning a third-level allowance race by nine lengths on Oct. 20.

Magnolia Jackson won the Garland of Roses on Dec. 2 and is 4 for 5 over Aqueduct's inner track. On Friday, she worked five furlongs in 1:02.47.

"She's as good as she's ever been," Contessa said. "She went off her first three-eighths in 38 and 4 and came home in 23 and change."

Contessa mentioned that he sold his recent maiden winner Marquis Diamond to owner J. Paul Reddam, who has turned the horse over to Mark Hennig. Marquis Diamond, a 2-year-old daughter of Yonaguska, won a six-furlong maiden race by 10 3/4 lengths on Dec. 17 in her second career start.

Earlier in the month, Contessa sold Barcola, a 16-length first-level allowance winner, to Reddam.

* Jose Santos has rehired Frank Sanabria as his agent. Sanabria worked for Santos in the late 1980's when he was he among the leading riders in the country.