03/17/2003 1:00AM

New York Hero to try Lane's End


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - New York Hero, scratched from Sunday's $200,000 Gotham at Aqueduct, will run in Saturday's $500,000 Lane's End Stakes at Turfway Park.

New York Hero drew post 10 for the Gotham - a major concern given the short run into the first of two turns - and his connections decided they would rather run in the Grade 2 Lane's End, a 1 1/8-mile race.

"We hated the post and we can run for more money in Kentucky," said Jennifer Pedersen, New York Hero's trainer.

New York Hero, who is owned by Ernie Paragallo's Paraneck Stable, will be equipped with blinkers in the Lane's End. After winning a maiden race and a first-level allowance race while sprinting on Aqueduct's inner track, New York Hero finished second in a two-turn race against older horses Feb. 27. Judge Chris, a contender in Wednesday's eighth race, beat New York Hero by a half-length.

Pedersen said New York Hero "hung a little last time, but as soon as [Judge Chris] ran past him, he took off again and went after him."

Pedersen said she hadn't decided on a jockey for New York Hero in the Lane's End. Apprentice Luis Castillo rode New York Hero in each of the colt's four starts and was named on him in the Gotham. Pedersen and Paragallo were unhappy with the ride that Castillo gave Blazing Song, who was beaten a nose in Sunday's fourth race, and replaced him aboard Wonderful Prospect, who won later on the card.

Virgin Voyage, third in the Busher on March 1, will represent Pedersen and Paragallo in the $150,000 Bourbonette Breeders' Cup, a stakes for 3-year-old fillies on the Lane's End undercard.

New York Hero and Virgin Voyage will leave for Kentucky Wednesday.

Alysweep improving, likely for Wood

Trainer Pat Reynolds said Gotham winner Alysweep came out of the Gotham "like a bear."

Reynolds, who is leaning toward running in the $750,000 Wood Memorial April 12, rather than the Blue Grass the same day at Keeneland, said, "They haven't seen Alysweep's best yet. He didn't run like a cheap speed horse that hung on; he kept on coming."

Colita possible for Wood

Colita, who finished fourth as the Gotham favorite, is under consideration for the Grade 1 Wood Memorial, according to Barry Irwin, the president of the Team Valor syndicate that owns a majority interest in the colt.

Irwin said Colita must work well before he commits to the Wood Memorial.

"We're going to put blinkers on him," Irwin said. "Both the riders who rode him the last two times said he loses focus on the backstretch and gets to the turn and gets interested."

Atfirst Blush scores in blinkers

Trainer Sal Russo was very candid about his thoughts on running Atfirst Blush, a good-looking winner of a Sunday allowance race, in the Wood Memorial.

"I don't think he is ready for Bobby Frankel's horse," Russo said referring to Empire Maker, who destroyed the Florida Derby field Saturday at Gulfstream.

Nonetheless, Russo said Atfirst Blush would be nominated to the Wood Memorial, though he wasn't sure if the horse would run.

After impressively winning his career debut last August at Saratoga, Atfirst Blush lost his next four starts, including his last two at Gulfstream. Russo equipped him with blinkers for Sunday's race and he came from off the pace for a length win in the two-turn mile race. He covered the distance in 1:38.25.

"He's a colt that is still learning and I put blinkers on him because he was running spotty," Russo said. "I don't think he thrived in the hot weather in Florida. If we do the right thing by him, he'll do right by us. Maybe by Saratoga, we might have a Travers horse."

Roar Emotion works five in 59.76

Demoiselle winner Roar Emotion, preparing for her 2003 debut in Saturday's Grade 3 Cicada, worked five furlongs in 59.76 seconds Monday at Belmont. It was the second-fastest of 18 works at the distance. Clockers timed Roar Emotion galloping out six furlongs in 1:12.90.

Roar Emotion tops a field that is expected to include Boxer Girl, Cyber Secret, Ladyecho, Leniently, and Search for a Cure. Xtra Heart is listed as a possible.

* A pick six carryover of $48,832 is available on Wednesday's card. The eighth race drew five older males. The third-level allowance will be run at 1 1/8 miles. Pay Per Win looks like the horse to beat. In his last race Feb. 1, he won a second-level allowance race by two lengths.

* John Velazquez, last year's leading rider in New York, returns Wednesday after riding at Gulfstream this winter. Velazquez is named on three mounts.