12/12/2006 12:00AM

Half Ours makes anticipated comeback


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - He had not run in 18 months and had never raced further than five furlongs when he entered the walking ring near the end of the opening session at the Keeneland November breeding stock sale.

Still, there was something about Half Ours that made Aaron Jones shell out $6.1 million for the colt he had once purchased for $625,000. Perhaps it's as simple as his breeding - Half Ours is a son of Unbridled's Song out of a Storm Cat mare. Perhaps it was his two brilliant victories at age 2.

Perhaps we'll begin to learn more on Thursday when Half Ours returns to the races in a second-level allowance race at Aqueduct. The six-furlong race will be the first start for Half Ours since he won the Three Chimneys Juvenile on the 2005 Kentucky Derby undercard.

Since then, trainer Todd Pletcher has had to stop twice on the colt. Half Ours fractured a hind cannon bone that required surgery in late May of his 2-year-old year. Pletcher had Half Ours entered in a race at Gulfstream Park in February but had to scratch him when the fracture opened up again. No surgery was required then, but the horse was sidelined for several months.

The horse was put through the auction ring last month to dissolve a partnership between Aaron and Marie Jones and Barry Schwartz, who purchased half-interest in the colt from the Joneses prior to his debut.

"He's a very talented horse by Unbridled's Song out of a Storm Cat mare; good looking, has speed," said Pletcher, when asked why Half Ours brought so much money. "They were dissolving a partnership, and he might have been more valuable to each of those guys. But all that being said, we think he's a very good horse. Who knows what he could be worth at the end of the day if he comes back as well as he was when he left."

Half Ours's work tab is littered with bullets for his return, and Pletcher is adept at getting horses to fire fresh. However, the 10 horses he faces Thursday are two more than he's faced in his first two starts combined, and there are other early speed types.

The race may set up best for Touchdown Kid, a 4-year-old New York-bred gelding who bounced back from two dismal efforts to win a first-level allowance race over the main track while earning a 96 Beyer Speed Figure.