10/05/2005 12:00AM

Jambalaya makes another money run

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Jambalaya (right), winning the Saranac last month, returns to New York in Saturday's Jamaica Handicap.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Successful in his first venture south of the Canadian border when he won the Grade 3 Saranac last month at Saratoga, Jambalaya has returned to New York, where he has sights set on Saturday's Grade 2, $300,000 Jamaica Handicap at Belmont Park.

Jambalaya ran his record to 4 for 4 on turf when he outlasted Silver Whistle to win the Saranac by a nose. The connections of Jambalaya believe he is even better now than he was in September.

"He's gotten better and better," said Louise McDonald, the exercise rider for Jambalaya. "He's always been confident, he's just come a little more into himself in his training. He's more focused and he's a happy horse."

Last Saturday at Woodbine, Jambalaya worked five furlongs in 1:01 at Woodbine. Jockey Jono Jones told McDonald, "That's the best he's ever felt on the dirt."

In part because of recent troubles Canadian jockeys have had coming to the States and in part because Jones has a commitment to ride another horse for trainer Catherine Day Phillips at Woodbine, John Velazquez has picked up the mount on Jambalaya.

Perhaps the only questions surrounding Jambalaya entering the Jamaica is he will be turning back to 1 1/8 miles. His last two races were at 1 1/2 miles and 1 3/16 miles.

Todd Phillips, who is the assistant to and husband of Catherine, said he and his wife are using this race as a stepping-stone to the Canadian International on Oct. 23.

"I think he prefers the mile and a half, but we didn't think cutting back was going to be much of an issue," said Todd Phillips. "We were looking at the Lawrence Realization," he said, referring to a 1 1/2-mile race here Oct. 16, "but he has been training so well we looked at this race and felt it was a good spot for him as well."

Jambalaya will be the 121-pound starting highweight in the Jamaica. He is expected to face T. D. Vance (119), Rebel Rebel (118), Woodlander (118), Fishy Advice (115), Chestertown Slew (114), and either Silver Whistle (116) or Grand Reserve (115).

Frankel layoff horses back to work

Badge of Silver and Nothing to Lose, a pair of Bobby Frankel-trained stakes winners who have been off for a long time, returned to the work tab Wednesday morning at Belmont Park.

Badge of Silver, unraced since finishing sixth in the Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs on June 18, worked three furlongs in 38.24 seconds. Frankel said he is trying to train Badge of Silver up to the $350,000 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct on Nov. 26.

Badge of Silver, who won the Hal's Hope and New Orleans handicaps to begin the year, bled in the National Jockey Club Handicap at Hawthorne in April, according to Frankel. Badge of Silver has also had a history of foot problems, which reared up again following the Stephen Foster.

"Right now he's going good, but we got a long way to go," Frankel said.

Nothing to Lose, who won the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile and Grade 2 Fourstardave Handicap last year, has not raced since finishing sixth as the favorite in the Citation Handicap last Nov. 27. Frankel said some old problems flared up on Nothing to Lose, who is likely to race again next year.

"He's been operated on before," Frankel said. "Some little things came up on him again."

Acey Deucey back working

Acey Deucey, winner of the Grade 1 Prioress, also returned to the work tab Wednesday, going three furlongs in 35.12 seconds over Belmont's main track. Jockey Diane Nelson was aboard for the work.

It was the first breeze for Acey Deucey since she finished eighth in the Grade 1 Test at Saratoga. Acey Deucey came out of that race with a wrenched ankle.

"We gave her four weeks off after the Test," trainer John Morrison said. "Her ankle was very, very sore. I waited for the whole thing to quiet down. She's been galloping five weeks plus.

"She worked well. She seemed to come out of it fine. We'll make sure she's okay the next couple of days. If she's fine physically we'll work back in 10 days."

Morrison said Acey Deucey could make her return to the races on New York Showcase Day in the $125,000 Iroquois Stakes on Oct 22.

"Everything's got to go right," Morrison said. "She didn't go back as far as I thought she had in terms of fitness."

Acey Deucey has won 4 of 7 races this year, including the Prioress, Grade 2 Comely, and the Dearly Precious.

Young to stop training, become agent

Steve Young, who has trained horses for the last 23 years, will give up training after this weekend to become the jockey agent for Mike Luzzi. Roger Sutton had previously handled Luzzi's book.

Young has 15 horses in his barn and recently turned down the chance to train 16 more. The 15 in his barn will be dispersed to other trainers, including Bill Mott, Todd Pletcher, Christophe Clement, and Bobby Frankel. Young's last two runners will be this weekend, including Contagious, provided she draws in from the also-eligible list in Friday night's Phoenix Stakes at The Meadowlands.

"The economics of the game right now, if you have a moderate-sized stable that is run as a first-class barn it's very difficult to get enough starts out of the modern-day horse to make money," Young said. "Mike's a very good rider. He's won Grade 1's, and I think we'll do well together."

Among the top horses Young trained were Irgun, winner of the 1994 Wood Memorial, who got hurt before he could run in the Kentucky Derby.

Though Young has not had experience as an agent, he said he believes his position as a trainer makes him "more qualified than anyone to do the job."

Luzzi said he just wanted to make a change and that his split with Sutton was amicable.

"Roger and I did well," said Luzzi. "We've had some good times and we've had some bad luck. I had a couple of injuries during our time together. We'll remain friends. I feel my ability is very sellable. I've had some positive responses already."

* Precise Motion, coming off a victory in a second-level New York-bred allowance race Sept. 24, wheels back in an open-company entry-level allowance Friday and looms the horse to beat under John Velazquez.