10/11/2004 11:00PM

Bailey to ride two in return to saddle

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Jerry Bailey will ride races 4 and 6 Thursday.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Jerry Bailey's unplanned six-week vacation is over. A Hall of Fame and seven-time Eclipse Award-winning jockey, Bailey returns to work Thursday, when he rides two maidens for trainer Bill Mott at Belmont Park.

Bailey has been sidelined since Sept. 1, when he broke his left wrist falling from a ladder while putting up a storm shutter in his south Florida home. While Bailey said he enjoyed spending time with his family, it was hard watching horses he regularly rides winning graded stakes. That included Sightseek, who won Saturday's Beldame, and Lady Tak, who won Sunday's Gallant Bloom.

"It's been a little bittersweet," Bailey said Tuesday from Florida. "I really enjoyed the time with my family, but you'd rather have these things planned than unplanned. The only tough part was not riding the really, really good horses and watching them run and gallop around there."

Bailey, 47, began getting on horses Oct. 6, when he galloped a few for Eddie Plesa at Calder. Bailey flew to New York that day and worked horses Thursday through Sunday at Belmont Park.

Bailey said he was hoping to make it back in time to ride Sightseek in the Beldame, but trainer Bobby Frankel had already committed to Javier Castellano. Bailey was then intending to return to the saddle Wednesday at Keeneland, but the race in which he was planning to ride didn't fill.

Bailey's return comes 16 days before the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Lone Star Park in Bailey's native Dallas, Texas. Bailey is already confirmed on Pleasantly Perfect (Classic), Kela (Sprint), and Six Perfections (Mile). He is likely to ride Storm Flag Flying in the Distaff, provided John Velazquez, as expected, rides Ashado. Agent Ron Anderson is working on getting Bailey contending mounts for the remaining four races.

"The most disappointing thing was Ken Ramsey not letting me ride Kitten's Joy back [in the Turf]," said Bailey, who had ridden Kitten's Joy in 4 of his 6 victories and his only loss this year. "You find out through good times and bad times who's loyal in this game. Dick Mandella has the best horse in the world [Pleasantly Perfect], and he had no problem waiting for me."

Bailey rides My Muchacha in Thursday's fourth race and Soul Star in the sixth. Two starts back, My Muchacha finished second behind Sis City in a maiden claiming race at Saratoga. She returns to the dirt after trying turf last out.

Soul Star finished fourth, beaten 5 1/2 lengths in a maiden turf race at Saratoga on Aug. 8.

Bailey will also ride at Belmont on Friday and Sunday, and at Keeneland on Saturday.

Bailey, who has talked about retiring at the end of this year or next, said how he feels once he's back in the saddle will help him determine when to call it a career.

"I don't think I'll know until I come back how much I missed it or didn't miss it," Bailey said. "Once I come back and I start riding for a month or so, then I think I'll know."

Ghostzapper sharp in Classic breeze

After working a slow six furlongs last week in company, Ghostzapper came back with a much swifter six-furlong move in 1:11.12 by himself Tuesday morning at Belmont.

Last Thursday, Ghostzapper worked six furlongs in 1:16.45 while in company with the 3-year-old turf horse Greek Sun.

"He breezed very well," trainer Bobby Frankel said of Tuesday's work. "I think he'll have a very good chance if he stays the way he is right now."

Frankel has planned two more works for Ghostzapper before shipping him to Lone Star on Oct. 27 along with his BC Sprint candidates, Midas Eyes and Cajun Beat. Frankel also plans to run Light Jig, who is based in California, in the Filly and Mare Turf.

Toner eyes Realization replay

Five years ago, trainer Jimmy Toner won the Grade 3 Lawrence Realization Handicap with Gritty Sandie, a horse who was eligible for his entry-level allowance condition. On Saturday, Toner will try to duplicate the feat with Generous One.

It took Gritty Sandie seven tries to win his maiden, something he accomplished at 1 3/8 miles Aug. 23, 1999, at Saratoga. Generous One won his maiden July 23 at Belmont, taking a 1 1/4-mile race by a nose.

Gritty Sandie was beaten less than one length in his first try against winners before taking the Lawrence Realization. In his first try against winners, Generous One was beaten a head.

"I thought his last race was very good," said Toner. "He's an improving type of colt, and it's a mile and a half. I'm running him because I think he'll go the mile and a half."

Speaking of Gritty Sandie, Toner will unveil a half-sister to Gritty Sandie in Thursday's sixth race, scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on the Belmont turf. Oodles of Noodles, by Alphabet Soup, shows a steady work tab leading up to her debut. Still, Toner said, "She's a little immature and green yet. It's just a place to get her started."

Fleet Indian breezes toward Iroquois

The Toner-trained Fleet Indian, a New York-bred who won her first four races, worked four furlongs in 48.16 seconds Tuesday morning at Belmont. It was her first work since she underwent a myectomy, a relatively minor throat operation.

Toner is pointing Fleet Indian to the $125,000 Iroquois Handicap, a seven-furlong race for fillies and mares on New York Showcase Day.

Fleet Indian's first loss came in the Alabama, in which she ran fifth behind Society Selection over a sloppy Saratoga track. Fleet Indian dropped in class for an allowance race at Belmont, but she finished third, beaten a half-length. Fleet Indian had displayed a tendency to displace her soft palate, but it really compromised her in the allowance race, Toner said.

Chowder's First targets Empire Classic

Chowder's First, a 3-year-old New York-bred who beat open company in a seven-furlong allowance race Monday, will return to restricted company in the $250,000 Empire Classic on Oct. 23.

After upsetting West Virginia in the Cab Calloway Division of the New York Stallion Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 4, Chowder's First got sick and was forced to miss the Albany Handicap at the Spa on Aug. 25.

Trainer Phil Serpe said he had twice entered Chowder's First in longer races that didn't fill before settling on Monday's seven-furlong event. Chowder's First covered seven furlongs in 1:23.80 and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 92.

"I wasn't looking to run him seven-eighths, but I thought he ran a good race," Serpe said. "Rather than work him up to the race I really wanted to get a race under his belt."