12/01/2004 1:00AM

A new start for Song of the Sword


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Trainer Jennifer Pedersen believes the primary reason for her barn's success during the Aqueduct fall meet was that she was running fresh horses over their home track.

Pedersen, who went 8 for 32 during Aqueduct's main-track meeting, hopes that theory rings true during the inner-track meet. Song of the Sword fits the profile of a fresh horse who should enjoy returning to the inner track when he runs in Friday's featured $56,000 fourth-level allowance race, which is scheduled for a mile and 70 yards.

Last winter, Song of the Sword won three races in 31 days over the inner track. Those wins plus a second-place finish in the Illinois Derby and a third in the Lexington Stakes prompted his connections to run him in the Kentucky Derby. Song of the Sword finished 11th in the Derby and ninth in the Preakness, after which he was done for the summer.

returned in the Pennsylvania Derby on Sept. 6, but a freak pre-race incident ended any chance he may have had. According to Pedersen, Song of the Sword fell down during pre-race warm-ups and hit his mouth with his knee, dislodging a tooth. Song of the Sword still ran and finished seventh.

Song of the Sword worked twice on the turf in September, then went nearly two months without a published workout. His most recent dirt workouts, including a four-furlong move in 47.11 seconds Tuesday, perhaps indicate a return to form. Last week, Pedersen noted how much Song of the Sword had developed physically and mentally during the summer.

Alan Garcia rides Song of the Sword from the rail.

Song of the Sword is not the only member of this six-horse field who will appreciate returning to the inner track. Snake Mountain is 4 for 4 over the inner oval, including victories in the Queens County, Aqueduct, and Stymie handicaps during the winter of 2002-03. Snake Mountain missed last winter due to injury and is only 1 for 8 since taking the Stymie in March 2003.

Rogue Agent is 3-1-2 from 7 starts over the inner track. His form dropped off over the summer, but a third-place finish, beaten just a half-length by Personal Touch, may be an indication he is on his way back. Rogue Agent looms the main speed under Norberto Arroyo Jr. and should appreciate running around two turns.

Completing the field are Tamburello, who finished fourth behind Rogue Agent, in his last race, Trapped Again, and Jersey Giant.