12/29/2004 1:00AM

Colonial Colony seeks first victory since Foster upset

Colonial Colony (left) wears down Southern Image to win the Grade 1 Stephen Foster.

NEW ORLEANS - Things haven't been the same for Colonial Colony since he won the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs at odds of 62-1 on June 12. Suddenly the 6-year-old son of Pleasant Colony had jumped from allowance company to the upper echelons of the handicap division.

has gone winless in four starts, all versus Grade 1 or Grade 2 company, since the Foster, but in Friday's $60,000 Louisiana Handicap, he has found a good place to get back on track. Winning won't be easy, though, as the Louisiana Handicap has drawn a competitive seven-horse lineup that includes Super Derby winner Fantasticat, the promising Alumni Hall, and multiple stakes winner Kodema.

Colonial Colony followed his Foster score with a solid fourth, beaten only a length, in the Grade 1 Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park on July 3. He then finished fourth in the Grade 2 Washington Park Handicap at Arlington Park and sixth in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar.

Owner-breeder Chris Nolan decided to give Colonial Colony some time off at that point and moved him from Walter Bindner to Dallas Stewart's barn. In his lone start since, Colonial Colony finished eighth in the Grade 2 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs.

"He was a little short last time," said Stewart. "He was coming into a stakes race off of a layoff. Without a prep race it's difficult to expect a horse to run his best race."

Stewart is more confident about Colonial Colony's chances in Friday's 1 1/16-mile Louisiana Handicap.

"He's been training very well over the track," said Stewart. "We're looking at the New Orleans Handicap for him down the road."

Colonial Colony runs best when a strong pace sets up his one-run style. But Cole Norman's last-minute decision not to enter Pie N Burger, the Tenacious Handicap runner-up, leaves longshot Gigawatt as the potential speed of the race.

"I think the race is a jump ball, and a good trip could decide it," said Steven Flint, who trains Gigawatt for Steve Ramsey. "It looks like there's no speed, and my horse could be alone on the lead. I think it's a good spot for him."

Alumni Hall, who won the $75,000 Black Tie Affair at Arlington on July 10, has started once at the meet, finishing fifth while making his turf debut against allowance company. He has since worked a bullet five furlongs in 1:00.40 and may finally be ready to live up to the vast potential he has hinted at in this return to the main track.

Crowned King and Absent Friend round out the field.