11/30/2005 12:00AM

New season at hand for Acey Deucey

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Acey Deucey (left), here winning the Prioress, has not raced since injuring an ankle in the Test at Saratoga.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - At this time of year, the majority of Grade 1 winners are being either rested of retired. Few, if any, are being pointed to listed stakes over Aqueduct's inner track.

For Acey Deucey, however, winner of the Grade 1 Prioress in July, the opening of Aqueduct's inner track is a perfect time to return to the races from a lengthy layoff. Acey Deucey will get a head start on her 4-year-old season when she runs in Saturday's $75,000 Garland of Roses over the inner track.

Acey Deucey, a 3-year-old New York-bred filly, has not run since finishing eighth of nine in the Grade 1 Test at Saratoga. According to her trainer, John Morrison, Acey Deucey wrenched an ankle in that race and has been out of action since. Morrison said Acey Deucey was away from the track for about a month before she was able to resume training in early September.

Morrison had hoped to get Acey Deucey back for the Iroquois Stakes in October at Belmont Park. But Acey Deucey kicked herself in the hock a few weeks before that race and she lost about a week of training. Morrison did not want to run Acey Deucey at a mile in the Top Flight on Nov. 25, so he targeted the six-furlong Garland of Roses for her return.

"She was probably ready about three weeks ago, but there was no place to run her," Morrison said. "The Garland of Roses was the logical spot that came up. She's come back from this physically very well."

Acey Deucey has been a home run for Morrison and owner Jeffrey Tucker since they purchased her privately from trainer Bob Klesaris in the fall of 2004. This year, Acey Deucey has won 4 of 7 seven starts, including the Dearly Precious over the inner track, the Grade 2 Comely, and the Prioress.

Morrison said the major early-season goal for Acey Deucey next year is the Grade 2, $225,000 Barbara Fritchie Handicap at Laurel Park on Feb. 18.

"That's been kind of the game plan all along," Morrison said. "I would like to get this race and another race into her next month, and that should set her up for the Barbara Fritchie. That's the goal this winter as long as she's healthy."

The Garland of Roses is coming up a pretty strong race. In addition to Acey Deucey, the field is expected to include stakes winners Bank Audit, High Peaks, Megascape, Schedule, and Travelator as well as Secret Forest.

Coa staying for the winter

Add Eibar Coa's name to the list of high-profile East Coast riders staying in New York this winter. Coa, who normally winters at Gulfstream Park, where he won the 2003 riding title, made his mark in New York this year.

Through Wednesday, Coa had won 124 of his 820 races in New York, tying him for fourth in the rider standings for the year. Coa told his agent, Matt Muzikar, that he preferred to stay in New York this winter rather than head to south Florida where there is far less purse money.

"We have a lot of clients that stay here for the winter," said Muzikar, naming trainers Bruce Levine, Dominic Galluscio, Gary Contessa, and Rick Violette. "All around it made sense. The jock came up with the idea. He started it all. My response was, 'As long as you can handle the weather.' "

Coa joins Jose Santos and Ramon Dominguez as high-profile riders who will winter in New York. Santos has not ridden here during the winter for about 15 years while Dominguez, a kingpin on the Maryland circuit, is due to begin riding here regularly after Christmas.

Morales to miss a week

Apprentice jockey Pablo Morales took off his final four mounts Wednesday and then was declared out for the week by his agent, Richard DePass, because of pain in his right shoulder. Morales, who was involved in a nasty spill on Friday, was scheduled to visit an orthopedist on Thursday to examine his rotator cuff.

Morales, who is poised to be the leading apprentice here this winter, appeared to come away from Friday's spill with just superficial cuts. After missing Saturday's card, Morales rode one race Sunday before taking off the remainder of the card. He returned Wednesday to ride Kiss and Go in the opener, but complained of pain in his shoulder and took off his final four mounts.

Carminooch takes Gander

New surface, same results for trainer Todd Pletcher.

The Pletcher-trained Carminooch rolled to a seven-length victory over pacesetting Coined for Success to win the $67,700 Gander Stakes for New York-breds on opening day of the inner track. It was three-quarters of a length back to Naughty New Yorker in third.

Pletcher closed out the main-track meet last week with wins in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile and Grade 2 Remsen as he surpassed the $20 million mark in earnings for the year, setting a single-year record.

Carminooch also gave John Velazquez a victory in what was likely his last mount of the year in New York. Velazquez has 147 winners in New York this year, second only to Edgar Prado's 206.

Carminooch, a 3-year-old son of Tomorrows Cat, ran a mile and 70 yards in 1:41.54 and paid $5.20 as the favorite. Carminooch is owned by the Three Amigos Stable, which includes Tony Sirico, the actor who plays Paulie Walnuts on "The Sopranos." Carminooch will most likely return in the $75,000 Alex M. Robb Handicap for New York-breds on Dec. 28.

Shoe error scratches horse, super

The stewards scratched New York Cat out of Wednesday's ninth race after he showed up to the paddock with an aluminum pad on a front foot, rather than a bar shoe, as had been printed in the program and announced all day. Trainer Bruce Levine is expected to be fined $500 for the error.

The scratch was also costly to the New York Racing Association, which had to cancel superfecta wagering.

* Doug Hatten is the new agent for jockey Jose Espinoza.