08/19/2005 11:00PM

'Fudge' fits in Union Avenue

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - gave Roger Horgan his first career victory as a trainer with an authoritative 3 3/4-length win in a New York-bred entry-level allowance here on July 29.

A former steeplechase rider and assistant trainer to Ken McPeek, Horgan seeks his first stakes victory when he sends out Royal Fudge against seven others in Monday's $65,000 Union Avenue Stakes for New York-bred fillies and mares at six furlongs.

Horgan has had Royal Fudge for two starts. On June 24, she finished a well-beaten fifth at Belmont Park. Horgan said Royal Fudge came out of the race sick. On July 29 here, Royal Fudge took advantage of a hot pace and an outside post to win a 5 1/2-furlong race going away.

Horgan said he made two changes that he feels benefited Royal Fudge that day. First, he backed off in her training, giving her one slow three-furlong breeze before the race. Second, he removed blinkers from Royal Fudge's equipment.

"I do very little with her in the morning," said Horgan, who doubles as the filly's exercise rider. "That's as key as the blinkers coming off."

Royal Fudge figures to get another solid pace in the Union Avenue. Slew Motion, King's Empress, Wild Berry, and High Peaks all look like they want to be on the early pace.

Royal Fudge breaks from post 6 under Gary Stevens, and at 114 pounds, he gets 10 pounds from highweight High Peaks.

"I wouldn't change my horse for anybody else's right now," Horgan said. "Gary is keen to ride her back, which is a good sign. She's every bit as good, if not better, than she was going into the last race. I'm confident she'll give a good account of herself."

A fast pace would help Lapis, one of two entrants from John Hertler. Two starts back, Lapis won a second-level allowance race with a strong off-the-pace move at Belmont Park. In her last start, against open company, Lapis was running well late when beaten 4 3/4 lengths.

"She was running at the end, just couldn't get there," said Hertler, who also starts Schemer. "It was one of those days when speed was just rolling."

High Peaks and Slew Motion drop back into restricted company after competing in graded stakes.

High Peaks won the Broadway Handicap in March the last time she faced statebreds. She chased a hot pace and tired to last in the Grade 2 Honorable Miss last out. Jerry Bailey takes over for Norberto Arroyo Jr.