01/03/2002 12:00AM

North East Bound fresh for mile run

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Where does form go?

North East Bound was in top form at this time last year. He had won the Meadowlands Cup and been second by only a neck to War Chant in the Breeders' Cup Mile. The Donn Handicap here at Gulfstream was probably more than he could handle, but he came back to win the Maker's Mark Mile at Keeneland.

A 6-year-old gelding by D'Accord, North East Bound failed to win a race in six more starts during 2001 but ran well in good company. Winner of more than $1.2 million and a runner of proven quality, he could be the one to beat under Pat Day on Saturday when he returns to action in the $150,000 Appleton Mile on the turf. Refreshed after a holiday, he has trained smartly for Bill Perry, who enjoyed so much success with Formal Gold. North East Bound has good speed and the competitive spirit required of those who stake out a career in mile events.

He is owned and was bred by Julian DeMarco and Richard DiSano of Cranston, R.I. DeMarco is in landscape maintenance and construction. while DiSano has real estate interests. They have raced horses for some time but have never had one of the quality of North East Bound.

"He is a good horse," trainer Perry says. "There were circumstances in almost all of those races last season. He gives the impression that he still has a lot of racing ahead. The Appleton is an important test."

Political Attack drawing attention

Brereton Jones, the Kentucky breeder who served as governor of the commonwealth several years ago, may have a runner in his homebred Political Attack. A son of the promising young stallion Hawk Attack, Political Attack was regarded as the one to beat at Calder on Tuesday in the $100,000 Tropical Park Derby on the turf. Wet weather caused a shift and the country's first Derby of the year was run on the dirt. But the footing didn't appear to make a difference to Political Attack, who was impressive, leading all the way under Mark Guidry to score by 4 1/2 lengths.

Coming on top of another front-running triumph in Calder's Mecke Stakes on the turf last month, Political Attack is beginning to create interest and excitement in the area. Trainer John Hennig, for his part, prefers to step back at this point and permit reality to catch up with hype.

"My son Mark ran Political Attack in his first start at Ellis Park in July," Hennig said. "But he was going to Saratoga, and Governor Jones preferred for the colt to remain in Kentucky, so he was sent to my stable at Churchill Downs. He made steady progress at Kentucky Downs and Keeneland, and appeared to put it all together in the Mecke."

Political Attack has pedigree to recommend him, in addition to his physical attributes. His dam, Cope's Light, by Copelan, has had four foals to race. Two are stakes winners and another is stakes-placed.

"We don't want to get too ambitious," Hennig comments. "We'll review our options and then draw up some plans for the remainder of the winter."