06/05/2006 11:00PM

Gold and Roses needs his best


ELMONT, N.Y. - As consistent as he has been throughout his career, Gold and Roses seems to be at his absolute best in races at one mile.

A perfect 4 for 4 at that distance, will have to deliver another flawless performance if he is to win Thursday's $65,000 Ormsby Stakes for New York-bred males at one mile at Belmont Park.

"I think it's his best distance; he has his best chance to finish strongest in that race," trainer Tom Bush said. "I thought a couple of times of backing him up. He's gotten so heavy and thick, he looks more like a sprinter than he did when he was a young horse."

Sans Funny Cide, the Ormsby has attracted virtually every other top older New York-bred male in training. The Ormsby marks the return to the races of statebred stakes winners , Galloping Grocer, and Lord Langfuhr.

Gold and Roses, a 4-year-old son of Gold Token, has 6 wins and 8 seconds from 19 career starts. In his last 4 starts - all in New York-bred stakes - he has 2 wins and 2 seconds. Two starts back, he won the Smart Coupon, a one-mile race, by 4 1/2 lengths. Last out, in the 1 1/8-mile Kings Point Handicap, Gold and Roses was beaten just three-quarters of a length by Funny Cide.

"That was a great race, one of those races there was no way you could be disappointed," said Bush, who likes the fact Gold and Roses has had six weeks since that race.

As the 124-pound highweight, Gold and Roses spots the rest of the field five pounds.

Chowder's First has not been out since winning the John Morrissey Stakes last August at Saratoga. He suffered a tendon injury subsequent to that. Chowder's First has run well off a layoff before.

"Him and Golden Commander both had tendon issues and Golden Commander ran great the other day," said trainer Phil Serpe, who saddled Golden Commander to a runner-up finish in the Kingston. "I think [Chowder's First] has a decent level of fitness. We just wanted to get these two guys back in the swing."

Chowder's First is 2 for 2 in the slop, though Serpe said he may not run him on an off track first off the layoff.

Lord Langfuhr has won his last three starts at a one-turn mile, and comes in off a bullet work on June 1.

"The last time he worked that good, he won," trainer Jimmy Jerkens said.