12/28/2011 5:52PM

Aqueduct: Two absentees try to fire fresh in allowance feature


By David Grening

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Two horses returning from extended layoffs help liven up a $62,000 first-level allowance race that serves as Aqueduct’s featured event on Friday.

Black Pen, away since May 1, and Vee’s Accolade, not seen since June 18, have run races that make them win candidates in this six-furlong dash that appears loaded with early speed.

Trainer David Jacobson and owner Bruce Golden claimed Black Pen for $25,000 from owner Mike Repole and trainer Todd Pletcher in August 2010. Black Pen came off a two-month freshening to win a $50,000 claimer in a very fast 1:08.06 at Belmont, earning a 102 Beyer Speed Figure. He had a win and two seconds in his next three starts before faltering while attempting to stretch out to a mile last January. Following a 98-day layoff, Black Pen finished second in an allowance on May 1 before going to the sidelines again.

“Bruce and I decided to give him some time off after that race then we decided he’d be a better horse for the winter so we gave him a nice long vacation,’’ Jacobson said. “He’s such a nice horse and so fast we wanted to be very protective of him and give him every opportunity to recover even from little ailments.’’

Jacobson said Black Pen was ready to run earlier this month, but races wouldn’t fill.

“He’s coming up to the race great. We expect him to run a very big race,’’ said Jacobson.

Jacobson loves the outside post for Black Pen, who has some speed, but will likely have to sit off the early speed of Star Harbour and Brooklyn Cowboy. Glickman also has some early speed, which he displayed in his comeback race on Nov. 19, his first race after undergoing throat surgery, according to trainer Jim Ryerson.

If a hot pace develops, Vee’s Accolade could be the biggest beneficiary. Vee’s Accolade has not run since finishing seventh in the $400,000 Red Legend Stakes at Charles Town on June 18. That was his third start for trainer John Terranova. In his first start for Terranova, Vee Accolade finished second by a nose to Redeemed, who has since become a multiple stakes winner. Vee Accolade’s two starts thereafter weren’t nearly as good so Terranova gave the horse a freshening.

“There wasn’t anything specifically wrong with him. He was a flat horse, a tired horse so we gave him 60 days and started over,’’ Terranova said. “He’s ready. He’s doing well, I expect him to run very well.’’

Star Harbour gave way grudgingly after setting fast fractions in his first start at this level on Nov. 19. He will likely have to deal with some early pace pressure again.

Irish Lion shortens up in distance after finishing seventh going a mile earlier this month.