08/19/2001 11:00PM

New Bakhoor plan: Win Albany

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Any trainer will tell you that the best-laid plans often go awry in this business.

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin knows this first-hand with Bakhoor, who could be a slight choice in Wednesday's $150,000 Albany, the final leg of the Big Apple Triple for 3-year-old New York-breds at Saratoga.

An overflow field of 13 entered the 1 1/8-mile Albany, but only 12 will be permitted to run.

Bakhoor, an easy winner of a pair of New York-bred races this spring at Belmont Park, finished a close-up third in the first leg of the Big Apple Triple, the Mike Lee, on June 30. McLaughlin decided to skip the middle race, the New York Derby at Finger Lakes on July 28. One reason was that McLaughlin thought it would be a hard trip for his colt, who can be difficult to saddle.

But then, the second-level allowance race that McLaughlin pegged as a backup on Aug. 6 didn't fill.

"A lot of thought and planning went into skipping the Finger Lakes race and opting for the allowance on Aug. 6 when everybody [representatives for owner Sheikh Maktoum al Maktoum] was here for the sale," McLaughlin said. "Then it didn't go, but I was happy we didn't go to Finger Lakes because it was a rough- run race and I was glad he was at home eating oats at the time."

McLaughlin said he's not concerned about the eight weeks between the Mike Lee and the Albany.

"I don't think it will be a problem; he's had very little down time and he's been working well," McLaughlin said.

Jerry Bailey is back aboard Bakhoor, who worked a bullet three furlongs in 35.05 seconds on Sunday. Bakhoor drew post 9.

With Mike Lee winner Solar Deputy skipping the Albany, Bakhoor's main threats are New York Derby winner Sweet Ricky and the race's runner-up, Personal Pro, who had a tough trip.

Trainer Scott Schwartz is confident Personable Pete, a half-brother to Grade 1 winner Critical Eye, is sitting on a big effort after finishing second in open company, beaten 13 1/2 lengths by Travers probable Volponi, who turned in an exceptional performance on July 30.

Schwartz said his temperamental colt, who stands 17.2-hands tall, is training super now that he has a new exercise rider.

"I only changed exercise riders six days before his last race and he showed a big improvement because [Bobby Everson] has gained his respect by controlling him," Schwartz said. "With more time working with him since his last race, I think we have a tremendous shot in this race."

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