02/02/2005 12:00AM

Daddy Joe primed for Whirlaway

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Maddy's Lion starts next in the Feb. 19 Fred Capossela.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Sometimes you have to take a step back to move forward. That's what the connections of Daddy Joe hope they accomplished by sending their highly regarded 3-year-old to Laurel Park last weekend.

After Daddy Joe won his maiden by 5 3/4 lengths in December, owner Ernie Paragallo had him entered in the Count Fleet Stakes here on Jan. 8. But that race was postponed a week due to poor track conditions. During that break, Daddy Joe sustained a bruised foot that forced him to miss the race when it was run on Jan. 15.

Paragallo then targeted the Whirlaway Stakes, to be run here on Feb. 12, but wanted to do something with Daddy Joe beforehand. Unable to find a suitable race in New York, Paragallo shipped him to Laurel for an entry-level allowance race last Saturday that Daddy Joe won by a nose.

Daddy Joe overcame a little bit of trouble to win that race, and his connections now believe he is set up nicely to run in the $75,000 Whirlaway on Feb. 12 against the talented New York-bred Galloping Grocer.

"It gave us an opportunity to get a race under our belt,'' trainer Jennifer Pedersen said. "He got off slower than usual, got shuffled back twice, and he cut his back leg a little bit, but he raced really well. He just got up, but Jeremy [Beasley] galloped him out. He needed the race."

The margin of victory was narrow, but Pedersen said that Daddy Joe was boxed in for a good part of the trip.

Other than the superficial cuts, Pedersen said Daddy Joe came out of the race well and should be ready for the Whirlaway.

A field of seven or eight is shaping up for the Whirlaway. In addition to Daddy Joe and Galloping Grocer, those expected to run include Diamond Wildcat, Lieutenant Danz, Middle Earth, Scrappy T, Sort It Out, and possibly Naughty New Yorker.

Maddy's Lion likely for Capossela

Maddy's Lion is nominated to the Whirlaway, but trainer John Pregman indicated that he may wait until next month to stretch the 3-year-old out in distance. Instead, Maddy's Lion is likely to make his next start in the $75,000 Fred "Cappy'' Capossela Stakes at six furlongs on Feb. 19.

"I'm trying to keep him as happy and as fresh as I can," Pregman said Wednesday. "I'm just picking my spots. He'll have to face tougher horses down the road, better later than sooner. But I think he will go long. He has that last quarter of a mile finish all the time."

Maddy's Lion showed a solid late finish during a half-mile work Wednesday at Belmont. Under Rafael Bejarano, Maddy's Lion worked four furlongs in 49.51 seconds, pulling away from workmate Hasapiko easily in the final furlong. It was Maddy's Lion's first work since he won the Jimmy Winkfield Stakes by 6 1/4 lengths on Jan. 17. Maddy's Lion has won 3 of 5 starts and has yet to race beyond six furlongs.

Pregman indicated that if he sticks with the plan to run in the Capossela, he then may try to stretch out Maddy's Lion in the Grade 3, $150,000 Gotham Stakes going one mile over Aqueduct's main track on March 19.

Edit It has right style

There appears to be enough pace in Friday's featured eighth race to set things up for a horse from off the pace. Edit It just may be the right one.

Edit It cleared the entry-level allowance hurdle on Nov. 21 and has had legitimate excuses in her last two starts. On Dec. 15, Bejarano lost the irons, so the race can be considered a throw-out. Last time out, Edit It was trying to close on a speed-favoring, muddy track and was beaten 1 1/2 lengths by the favored Provincial.

Say Hey Willie wheels back just one week after beating open company for the first time. Before that, she romped against New York-bred second-level starters. Say Hey Willie is entered along with Georgetown Gal, but only one can run, since Norberto Arroyo Jr. is named on both. Whoever runs, she should find pace pressure from Black Mariah.

French Hideaway, who gets a rider change from Fernando Jara to Richard Migliore, is also in with a chance.

Longshot creates pick six madness

Thanks in large part to longshot Napoleon Solo ($106), there were no winning tickets sold on Wednesday's pick six. That created a three-day carryover of $424,209 heading into Thursday's card.

Napoleon Solo, owned and trained by Ralph Polese, won for the first time since March 9, 2003, also over the inner track. In fact, Napoleon Solo is 3 for 9 over the inner track, 0 for 13 everywhere else.

The rest of the sequence was fairly formful with Lookin' Swell ($7.50), April Eyes ($5.80), Here's Zealous ($4.50), Ms. Litigator ($13.40), and Surrey Down ($8.90). There were 162 consolation tickets, each returning $582.