02/08/2006 12:00AM

Dominguez new rider aboard Achilles of Troy


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - The last two Kentucky Derbies have been forgettable experiences for jockey Ramon Dominguez. Two years ago, he rode Wood Memorial winner Tapit to a ninth-place finish. Last year, Dominguez was aboard High Limit, who got stepped on during the running of the race and finished last.

It remains to be seen whom Dominguez will ride in this year's Derby, but he will be sitting aboard a hot 3-year-old on Saturday when he rides Achilles of Troy in the $65,000 Whirlaway Stakes at Aqueduct. Owner Ernie Paragallo on Wednesday confirmed Dominguez as the replacement for Alan Garcia.

On Wednesday, Dominguez guided Achilles of Troy through his final breeze for the Whirlaway, a four-furlong move clocked in 49.58 seconds over Aqueduct's inner track. Achilles of Troy, a son of Notebook, worked in blinkers and was timed galloping out five furlongs in 1:02 by Aqueduct clockers.

Dominguez, who also worked Achilles of Troy last week, said the horse was more aggressive in Wednesday's workout with the blinkers on.

"He was a little more aggressive going to the pole, but once he got going he was laid back like the last time," said Dominguez, who last week worked Achilles of Troy five furlongs in 1:01.41.

Dominguez said he is eager to ride Achilles of Troy in a race "especially after watching him run last time."

Dominguez was referring to Achilles of Troy's 14-length win in the Count Fleet Stakes on Jan. 7 in which he ran a mile and 70 yards in 1:39.61.

Paragallo said he would not run his other promising 3-year-old, Scanlon's Song, in the Whirlaway. Scanlon's Song was a visually impressive maiden winner here on Jan. 28. Paragallo is hoping to find an allowance race for that horse either here or out of town before tackling stakes company.

On Wednesday, Scanlon's Song worked a sharp five furlongs in 1:00.45, the fastest of five works at the distance. Dominguez was aboard for that work as well.

"If they run against each other it'll be the first Saturday in May," Paragallo said, referring to the Kentucky Derby.

Achilles of Troy will likely have six or seven challengers in the Whirlaway, run at 1 1/16 miles. One Way Flight, Platinum Couple, Psychotic Reaction, River City Rebel, and Rob 'em Blind are confirmed. Trainer George Weaver is considering running Greeley's Legacy and/or Eye for Style.

Violette: 'Troy' may be vulnerable

Trainer Rick Violette is planning to run Psychotic Reaction in the Whirlaway in part because he thinks Achilles of Troy could be susceptible to bounce off his huge victory in the Count Fleet, which came nine days after he won his maiden by 4 1/2 lengths.

"I think he's very vulnerable to a bounce," Violette said. "He ran two huge numbers in a nine-day span. I know he's a nice horse and everything, but there's reason for him to bounce. If you're going to take a shot against him, right now might be the time to do it."

Psychotic Reaction is a New York-bred son of Freud who has 2 wins and 2 seconds from 4 starts. He is coming off a 5 1/2-length statebred allowance win on Jan. 21.

On Tuesday, Psychotic Reaction breezed four furlongs in 47.69 seconds over Aqueduct's inner track.

Serey returns to Big A winner's circle

When Tropical Charm ($23.80) won Wednesday's fourth race, it marked the first victory in New York for trainer Juan Serey since March 14, 2002. He had not started a horse in New York since April 2002. Serey, who was the leading trainer in New York in 2000, had his license revoked in 2003 because of legal problems stemming from a dispute with his brother.

Serey got his license reinstated by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board in December 2004, and returned to training last year at Monmouth Park. Serey had been 0 for 20 in New York since returning here last November.

Serey has 11 horses based at Belmont Park.

Belmont Stakes reservations open

NYRA is now accepting reservations for the June 10 Belmont Stakes. Fans may download a seat application at www.nyra.com. Applications are due by Feb. 28.

Prices are the same as last year - clubhouse seating ranging from $45 to $110 and grandstand seats from $20 to $100.

* Randy Romero is now the agent for jockey Fernando Jara.