09/16/2005 12:00AM

Keesler looking to rebound


ELMONT, N.Y. - A drop into restricted company, the prospect of a fast pace, and a return to Belmont Park could help get back in the winner's circle when she faces seven New York-bred filly and mare sprinters in Sunday's $100,000 Schenectady Handicap.

Keesler had reeled off four consecutive wins before she ran in the Proud Puppy Stakes at Finger Lakes, in which she had to check and alter course in the stretch. She re-rallied to finish third.

Three starts back, Keesler won an open company third-level allowance race by 3 1/4 lengths, taking advantage of a swift early pace. With stablemate Megascape and High Peaks in the field, Keesler should get a contested pace again. Keesler carries 116 pounds in the Schenectady, 10 fewer than she carried in the Proud Puppy.

Mike Smith rides Keesler from post 5. The last time Keesler ran at Belmont, she won a New York-bred entry-level allowance race by 13 1/4 lengths.

High Peaks finished third as the favorite in the Union Avenue Stakes at Saratoga. In that race she dueled early with Slew Motion, who did well to hold second behind the late-running Lapis. Trainer Tom Bush said he doesn't believe High Peaks handled the Saratoga racing surface that day.

"I'm very confident in this filly," Bush said earlier this week. "The surface at Saratoga was not like it was the last couple of years, and I don't think she relished it as much."

would be the one to beat in the Schenectady Handicap if she runs. Travelator was entered in Saturday's

Grade 3, $100,000 Floral Park Handicap as well. Travelator won a pair of stakes at Monmouth Park before finishing fifth in the Regret Stakes on Aug. 7 at Monmouth. Trainer Stanley Hough said Travelator got cast in her stall since that race, but she shows a solid string of works leading up to this.

Trainer John Hertler sends out the uncoupled entry of Lapis and Schemer. Lapis won the Union Avenue with a strong closing kick while Schemer grabbed a quarter when he stumbled at the break and finished seventh.

Royal Fudge and Ihaveadate, the fourth- and sixth-place finishers from the Union Avenue, complete the field.