01/30/2006 12:00AM

Nelson out following back surgery

Email
Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Acey Deucey, winning the Prioress under Diane Nelson, will run in Saturday's Correction.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - For the first half of 2005, Diane Nelson and Acey Deucey had perfect chemistry and timing. Nelson guided her to four victories from seven starts as a 3-year-old, including a Grade 1 score in the Prioress in July.

Since then, things have gone awry for both horse and rider, albeit at different times. Last summer, Acey Deucey hurt herself in the Grade 1 Test and was unable to make it back to the races until December, and even then she wasn't quite herself.

Now, just when it appears Acey Deucey is returning to form - at least in her training - her partner, Nelson, is ailing. Nelson underwent surgery last Thursday to remove a herniated disc in her back and is likely to miss the next three months.

That means that Acey Deucey will have a new rider when she runs in Saturday's $65,000 Correction Handicap at Aqueduct. Alan Garcia will replace Nelson in the six-furlong stakes for fillies and mares.

Nelson said Monday from her home that she tried to get the surgery put off a month or two because she was hoping to ride Acey Deucey in a couple of upcoming stakes. Nelson, the only jockey to have ridden Acey Deucey, had been aboard for Acey Deucey's two most recent workouts - both sharp five-furlong moves - and said she has been impressed.

"Her last couple of works were very good," Nelson said, referring to a Jan. 11 move in 59.45 seconds and a Jan. 22 work in 59.18 seconds. "I was really pleased with her."

Trainer John Morrison said he believes Acey Deucey "is pretty close to where she was last spring and summer. The month of December she just didn't do good at all."

December began with Acey Deucey finishing seventh of 10 in the Garland of Roses. In the starting gate, she was just outside Travelator, who stumbled at the break and unseated her rider, inhibiting Acey Deucey.

"Everything had to go right, and it didn't," Morrison said.

Now, Nelson is hoping everything goes right for her in her rehabilitation. Nelson, 40, said Monday that she is still pretty uncomfortable, but doctors told her that was normal. She said she hopes to begin working out in six weeks and is eyeing a May return.

"I'm not done yet," she said. "This isn't how I want to go out. This isn't my retirement."

Bishop Court Hill likely for Toboggan

Bishop Court Hill came out of his front-running victory in Saturday's "in great shape," according to assistant trainer Seth Benzel, and he will most likely make his next start in the Grade 3, $100,000 Toboggan Handicap on March 11.

The Toboggan, usually run at seven furlongs on the outer track, is now a six-furlong race on the inner track. That change was made when NYRA management opted to extend the inner track meet by two weeks.

Benzel said it is possible that Bishop Court Hill could run in the General George Handicap at Laurel Park if that race is postponed until March. The General George is scheduled for Feb. 20, but Maryland officials have said it is likely the race could be postponed by two to four weeks because of the outbreak of equine herpesvirus that has hit that state. Many jurisdictions have placed restrictions on horses shipping in and out of Maryland due to the virus.

"The Toboggan seems like a logical spot given the fact he's already proven he likes the inner dirt," said Benzel, an assistant to Todd Pletcher.

Fleet Indian, a filly the Pletcher stable recently acquired, worked five furlongs in 1:04.22 on Sunday and is under consideration for Friday's Strolling Belle Stakes, Benzel said. The slow time was a product of a slow first eighth of a mile, he added.

Navesink River, who won the Gallant Fox for Pletcher, worked four furlongs in 1:02.42 Sunday. Navesink River has since been sold and was scheduled to be shipped Tuesday to Saudi Arabia, where Ian Jory will take over his training. Jory, formerly based in Southern California, took a job last April training for Prince Sultan al Kabeer in Saudi Arabia.

Galloping Grocer back in training

Galloping Grocer, the champion New York-bred 2-year-old of 2004 but a disappointment in 2005, is working toward his 4-year-old debut.

Galloping Grocer, who has not run since finishing eighth in the Empire Classic last October, has worked twice recently, including a half-mile move in 47.88 seconds over Belmont's training track on Saturday.

"He looks better than ever right now," said trainer Dominick Schettino.

Galloping Grocer had a rough 3-year-old campaign. After an unsuccessful attempt to make it to the Kentucky Derby, Galloping Grocer ran in the Preakness, where he finished 13th of 14. He was found to have displaced his palate in that race and underwent throat surgery.

In August, he ran second behind Gold and Roses in the Cab Calloway Stakes for progeny of New York-based stallions at Saratoga. Later in the meet, he developed a serious staph infection in a leg and nearly died, Schettino said.

He was taken out of training following an eighth-place finish in the Empire Classic.

Schettino said that Galloping Grocer would return on the dirt, but will be tried on the turf sometime during the year. He worked twice on the turf at Saratoga last summer.

Salic Law one to catch in feature

Salic Law, a proven marathoner, stretches out to 1 1/4 miles in Wednesday's $58,000 featured optional claiming race. The race will be Salic Law's second start since July. In his first start since then, Salic Law finished second in a 1 1/16-mile allowance race.

Last winter, Salic Law went 2 for 3 over the inner track, winning at 1 3/16 miles and 1 1/8 miles. He could be the controlling speed under Eibar Coa.

Infinite Glory comes off a solid win at Laurel for the Richard Dutrow Jr. barn. He has finished second in his last seven starts.

* Marty Katz, who worked as a clocker for Daily Racing Form for 20 years before becoming a private clocker based in New York, died Saturday night at age 51. A wake was to be held Tuesday at the Dalton Funeral Home, 47 Jerusalem Ave., Hicksville, from 2-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m.