12/05/2007 12:00AM

Back on inner dirt, Barcola may run big

EmailOZONE PARK, N.Y. - It was a year ago this week that Barcola made people perk up and take notice of him when he won a first-level allowance race by 16 1/2 lengths over Aqueduct's inner track.

That performance piqued the interest of trainer Mark Hennig, who called owner J. Paul Reddam and suggested they buy the horse privately from Winning Move Stable and trainer Gary Contessa. Reddam did purchase Barcola privately and the son of Old Trieste has paid off nicely for Reddam, winning 4 of 10 starts and banking $220,775 this year. Saturday, Barcola returns to the inner track when he is scheduled to run in the Grade 3, $100,000 Queens County Handicap and his connections are sure hoping he can resurrect that performance of a year ago.

"That'd be great," Hennig said.

Barcola did his best running this year at Delaware Park, where he won three listed stakes, including the Kelso on Sept. 29 at the Queens County distance of 1 3/16 miles. In his return to New York, Barcola finished last after setting the pace in the Grade 3 Stuyvesant Handicap over the main track.

"He had some quality horses laying close to him and he didn't get away that great," said Hennig, noting that jockey Kendrick Carmouche had to "hustle him away a little bit. As you know the main track at Aqueduct can be cuppier and sandier than the inner track."

Barcola may have to deal with other speed types in the Queens County, including Marital Asset, a horse Hennig formerly trained, and Barracuda Boy. Also expected are Stuyvesant winner Hunting, 2001 Queens County winner Evening Attire, and Nkosi Reigns.P

Canet brings string to New York

After spending the last few winters in south Florida, trainer Julian Canet has decided to give New York a try and will maintain a 26-horse stable on this circuit this season. Among his horses is Judiths Wild Rush, a three-time Sovereign Award winner in Canada who has earned more than $926,000. On Wednesday, Judiths Wild Rush worked seven furlongs in 1:24.52 over Belmont's training track.

Judiths Wild Rush, 6, is now back with Canet after spending the summer and fall with Gerald Seymour.

"I get him every winter; when Woodbine closes the owner sends him to me," Canet said. "He worked very, very good."

Belmont clockers caught Judiths Wild Rush in fractions of 23.20 seconds, 34.80, 47.40, 59.20, 1:11.80, and he galloped out the mile in 1:39.20. Canet said he is pointing Judiths Wild Rush to a money allowance race here on Dec. 13.

Judiths Wild Rush finished second in an optional claiming race here in March. Since then, he lost seven consecutive races at Woodbine, run over the Polytrack.

"He really doesn't like the Polytrack and I've been telling the owner that he doesn't like Polytrack, but he's from Canada and he wants to see his good horses run up there," Canet said.

Canet said he has a mixture of young horses, claiming horses, and allowance horses stabled in barn 21 at Belmont. On Wednesday, Canet started two horses at Aqueduct, including Hurrah, who was beaten a nose by Indian Hawke in the eighth race and Lethimthinkhesboss, who finished a close-up fourth in the ninth.

Nite Light shines in Coyote Lakes

The regally-bred Nite Light, the only 3-year-old in a field of six, held on for a neck victory over Successful Affair in Wednesday's $76,700 Coyote Lakes. It was 3 3/4 lengths back to Malibu Moonshine in third.

The win was the first stakes victory for Nite Light, a son of champion Thunder Gulch out of the Grade 1-winning mare Lite Light, who died earlier this year at the age of 19. Under Mike Luzzi, Nite Light ($10.80) made the lead after a quarter-mile, galloped along through a pedestrian mile of 1:44.46 and 1 1/4 miles in 2:10.04, before sprinting home the final quarter in 24.29 seconds for a final time of 2:34.33 for the 1 1/2 miles.

"Going a mile and a half I always like to be close to the lead or on the lead," said Luzzi, who broke an 0-for- 21 streak with the win. He noted that Eibar Coa, riding Angelic Aura, "kind of took it, then slowed it down a little too much. He let me up there and it was cat and mouse after that.''

Successful Affair, making his first start in seven months, just fell short in his bid to win this race for the second straight year.

"I knew who was coming, I know that horse a little bit," said Luzzi, who rode Successful Affair three times. "This horse seemed like he wanted to fight, I got after him a couple of times left-handed and he hung in there pretty good."

Nite Light's victory gave trainer Todd Pletcher his 92nd stakes victory of the year. In 2006, Pletcher set a single-year record with 100 stakes victories.

Nite Light and Successful Affair will most likely meet again in the $75,000 Gallant Fox Handicap at 1 5/8 miles here on Dec. 29.

* Grand Champion, the Fall Highweight winner, worked four furlongs in 50.24 seconds over Belmont's main track. Trainer Jimmy Jerkens has previously said that he may attempt to stretch Grand Champion out beyond six furlongs, perhaps in a race down in south Florida.