10/18/2006 11:00PM

Gold and Roses in right place after all

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ELMONT, N.Y. - When he looked at the list of nominations for Saturday's $125,000 Hudson Handicap, trainer Tom Bush thought twice about pointing Gold and Roses to the six-furlong stakes for New York-breds.

With open-company stakes winners Commentator, Friendly Island, The Daddy, and Sharp Humor among the nominees, Bush initially thought, "We should look for another race."

But with Commentator and Friendly Island pointing to the Breeders' Cup Sprint, and The Daddy retired, the Hudson certainly looks like the right spot for Gold and Roses. Even though Swale Stakes winner Sharp Humor is in the field, he is coming off knee surgery and a five-month layoff.

"Obviously, he looks like he'd be a tough customer," Bush said of Sharp Humor. "I wish he wasn't in there, but he is. I'm just glad Friendly Island and Commentator aren't in there."

Seven statebreds entered the Hudson, with Gold and Roses and Sharp Humor the co-highweights at 119 pounds and certainly the horses to beat.

Gold and Roses began the year running in route races, but has developed into a solid sprinter for Bush and owner Henry Gregory. He finished second to Commentator in the Mugatea here in July, won the John Morrissey Stakes by six lengths at Saratoga in August, and finished a troubled third behind Who's the Cowboy in the Icecapade Stakes at Monmouth Park in September.

"The race at Monmouth was a better race than it looks because he kind of broke in a little bit of a tangle and rushed up and was running against a horse that was virtually unbeatable over that course," Bush said. "He tried hard that day."

Gold and Roses will break from post 2 under Garrett Gomez.

Sharp Humor meets New York-breds for the first time since he won the Sleepy Hollow last year on New York Showcase Day. In three starts this year, he won the Grade 2 Swale, finished within a half-length of Barbaro in the Florida Derby, and finished 19th behind Barbaro in the Kentucky Derby.

Sharp Humor emerged from the Derby with a knee chip that was surgically removed. He has been training steadily since Saratoga.

"He's come along pretty quick," trainer Dale Romans said. "I think he's plenty fit. I think he's sharp and ready to go."

Edgar Prado rides Sharp Humor from post 3.

Completing the field are Introspect and Papua, the second- and third-place finishers from last year's Hudson; Scary Bob, a winner of three straight; and longshots Executive Search and Casper Peterson.