01/11/2005 12:00AM

Galloping Grocer works out


Galloping Grocer, the talented New York-bred 3-year-old gelding, moved closer to his seasonal debut on Tuesday by working three furlongs in 35.43 seconds over the Belmont Park training track.

Exercise rider Gary Richards was aboard for the move, which was rated the fourth fastest of 28 works at the distance. The training track was labeled fast. Galloping Grocer is preparing for the $75,000 Whirlaway Stakes at Aqueduct on Feb. 12.

It was the first timed workout for Galloping Grocer since he was beaten a neck by the undefeated Rockport Harbor in the Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct on Nov. 27. It was the gelding's first loss after he won his first three starts in restricted company by 31 3/4 lengths.

"He worked excellent," trainer Dominick Schettino said. "He did it in hand. He was just galloping. He came back great. He did everything easy - I was really happy with him."

Following the Remsen, Galloping Grocer had a relatively easy two months, walking and jogging for about a month. He began galloping on Dec. 27.

"The time off did him good," Schettino said. "He's much stronger."

Schettino said he would probably get two or three more works into Galloping Grocer before the Whirlaway. Schettino also said he would begin taking Galloping Grocer to the gate on a regular basis. There were times last year when Galloping Grocer acted up in and around the gate.