02/01/2006 12:00AM

Cool Conductor off break

Cool Conductor, who has not raced since October, is back in training.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Cool Conductor, the winner of last year's Grade 2, $200,000 Dixie over eventual Breeders' Cup Mile winner Artie Schiller, has returned from a freshening and is now based at Oaklawn Park.

"He's just starting back," said Ralph Nicks, who trains Cool Conductor. "He's should be ready mid-April."

Nicks said Cool Conductor resumed training just after the start of the year. He was given some time off following a 2005 campaign in which he won 3 of 6 starts, including the Dixie at Pimlico and the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap at Arlington Park, in which he earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 103. He last raced in October, when he finished 10th in the Shadwell Turf Mile.

Nicks said he is looking for good things this year from Cool Conductor, who is now 5. With a strong season, Cool Conductor would put himself in position for the Breeders' Cup.

Cool Conductor races for David Garner and has won 5 of 20 starts and $630,046. He is one of several nice older horses in Nicks's 28-horse barn.

Nicks said Onthedeanslist, winner of the $75,000 Colonel E. Bradley on turf at the Fair Grounds meet at Louisiana Downs, has options in the coming months, including the Grade 3, $200,000 Connally Breeders' Cup Turf at Sam Houston Race Park on April 8. Onthedeanslist is also a winner on dirt, and he could try the main track again, said Nicks.

Thunder Mission, a recent allowance winner, is under consideration for the Grade 3, $100,000 Essex. Another older horse of interest is the stakes-placed Shadowland, whom Nicks trained at 3 and who has rejoined his barn this year at age 5. Thunder Mission breezed a half-mile in 51.40 seconds Wednesday.

Celluloid Hero could try Southwest

Celluloid Hero, who darted through an opening along the rail to win his third straight race in the $50,000 Dixieland at six furlongs Jan. 20, could make his two-turn debut next out, in the $250,000 Southwest at one-mile Feb. 20. He is also being considered for the $50,000 Mountain Valley at six furlongs Feb. 25.

"We'll train him for the Southwest," said Mac Robertson, who manages Celluloid Hero. "If it comes up real tough, we'll run in the sprint four or five days later."

Robertson said he is hopeful Celluloid Hero will be effective around two turns. Reel Legend, a half-brother of Celluloid Hero, finished second last July in the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes at 1 1/4 miles. Celluloid Hero also does not have the build of a sprinter, as some of the offspring of his sire, Glitterman, do.

"He's not a big, heavy Glitterman like some of them are," said Robertson. "He looks like he'd run long. He trains like he'd run long, but [you don't know] until you run him. We're optimistically thinking he can get two turns."

Pass the Biscuits steps up

Pass the Biscuits, who rolled to a five-length win last out Jan. 22, moves up in class for a two-other-than allowance, which goes as the 10th race Friday. The race also drew Cat Shaker, who won last year's Rushaway, and multiple stakes winner Arch Hall.

Ridden by apprentice Beverly Burress, Pass the Biscuits won at 8-1 in the slop last time, when he stalked in a $32,000 claiming race. He earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 88, which is also one of the top last-race numbers Friday.

Burress said she was thrilled that it rained leading up to Pass the Biscuits's last start, because Pass the Biscuits had won on a wet track last year at Oaklawn.

Cat Shaker was second in an allowance last out, and Arch Hall will be making his first start since winning the $125,000 Sir Barton at Woodbine in November.

* There is a $62,445 pick-six carryover Friday.