01/13/2005 12:00AM

Count Fleet field gets a makeover


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - In the case of the Count Fleet Stakes, a week made a big difference.

When originally drawn to be run last Saturday, 13 3-year-olds were entered, there was plenty of speed in the race, and the strongest closer, Naughty New Yorker, was drawn nicely on the rail. The race was postponed, however, when the jockeys refused to ride following the day's third race.

The Count Fleet, which shares billing with the $75,000 Affectionately Handicap, was redrawn Thursday to be run Saturday, and the complexion of the race changed significantly. Only nine were entered, there doesn't appear to be as much pace, and Naughty New Yorker is now drawn on the extreme outside.

The complexion of the Count Fleet, run at a mile and 70 yards, could change further depending on what owner Ernie Paragallo decides to do with Pavo, a late-closing sprinter. Paragallo wanted to run Daddy Joe, but that horse suffered a bruised foot. Instead, Paragallo entered Pavo because he was concerned Pavo would have no chance over the speed-favoring inner track in Monday's six-furlong Jimmy Winkfield Stakes.

If never showed any speed until after his first start. Bailes has tried to slow Scrappy T down since then and changed bits on him for a Sunday workout that was unrecorded.

Bailes said that he would not be upset if Scrappy T was not on the lead in the Count Fleet.

"I think I can go either way with him," Bailes said.

Pat Kelly, the trainer of , joked that the extra week gave Naughty New Yorker "more time to recover from his mammoth figure." Naughty New Yorker earned a 90 Beyer Speed Figure in his Dec. 15 win in the Damon Runyon Stakes.

Although Kelly said he would have preferred Naughty New Yorker not to be on the outside, he doesn't seem concerned about the pace scenario. "When he makes up his mind to go, he does his own thing," Kelly said.

, already a multiple stakes winner, may have benefited the most from the extra week. Not only did he put in a stellar workout Monday, but he went from post 8 to post 4.

Other logical contenders are Tani Maru, who beat Scrappy T in a Dec. 15 allowance race, and Father Weist, who was third, beaten only a neck, in that same race.