01/27/2006 12:00AM

Carminooch tries to rebound

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Carminooch won the Gander Stakes (above) on the inner track's opening day, but lost the Alex M. Robb as the favorite last month.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - The first half of Aqueduct's inner-track meet ends the same way it began, with a New York-bred overnight stakes serving as the main event on a nine-race card. Carminooch, who won the Gander Stakes by seven lengths over the inner track on opening day, will try to rebound Sunday from a third-place finish as the favorite in the Alex M. Robb last month.

A field of nine was entered for the $60,000 Mellow Roll, run at one mile. The Mellow Roll shares top billing with the $60,000 Oxford Scholar for 3-year-old fillies at six furlongs.

Jockey John Velazquez told trainer Todd Pletcher that ran "spotty" in the Alex M. Robb, a race in which he rallied to finish third behind Two Sixty Four and Naughty New Yorker.

"He was just a little greenish acting - he ran spotty was the way Johnny described it," Pletcher said. "He ran such a big race the time before; he didn't repeat the same effort. We're hoping with that one out of the way and with a fair amount of time between races, he'll bounce back."

Restrictions placed on shippers from Laurel Park due to an outbreak of equine herpesvirus will keep Two Sixty Four out of the Mellow Roll. Gold and Roses, who finished fourth in the Robb after breaking slowly, could be the one to catch.

resisted the early restraint from Eibar Coa in that race, and was throwing his head about in a rank fashion. When he saw daylight, Gold and Roses went up after the leaders and was just off the flank of Two Sixty Four at the quarter pole. While Two Sixty Four went on, Gold and Roses gave way.

"I don't know what the right move would have been," trainer Tom Bush said. "If Coa lets the horse go and gets real strong down the backside and comes up empty, I would have said, 'Why did you rush him when he broke bad?' It's a tough call. Gold and Roses just didn't show up that day. I'm not so sure we would have had a chance anyway the way [Two Sixty Four] ran."

If he breaks well here, Gold and Roses is likely to secure the early lead over Mr. Determined and .

* Pure Disco and Wild Gams, first and fourth in the New Jersey Futurity for 2-year-old fillies at The Meadowlands last November, head the field for the Oxford Scholar. Pure Disco has not run since that race, while Wild Gams won an allowance race over this course on Jan. 6.