05/11/2006 12:00AM

Like Now puts in work


Like Now, upset winner of the Gotham Stakes in March, put in one of his slower half-mile works of the spring on Thursday morning at Belmont Park, and trainer Kiaran McLaughlin couldn't have been happier. With Garret Gomez in the saddle, Like Now went four furlongs in 49.31 seconds over a fast main track.

McLaughlin said Like Now, who most recently ran second in the Grade 2 Lexington Stakes, went off his first quarter very fast, before Gomez was able to get him to relax through the final quarter of the work, which was timed in 25.51 seconds.

"He's normally a real quick work horse, every work is black letter," McLaughlin said, referring to a description given to the fastest work of the day. "He went off like he was going to do that again. [Gomez] got him to switch off turning for home and he went 49-and-one which was great. Then he wanted to go again after the wire. He's glad he got a feel of him to see what he was like. There's a good chance he's going to ride him in the Preakness."

McLaughlin said that Gomez would ride Like Now provided Bob and John, whom Gomez rode in the Kentucky Derby, does not run in the .

Fernando Jara had ridden Like Now in seven of his last eight races, winning four of them. McLaughlin said owner John Dillon was seeking a more experienced rider for the Preakness.

Though experienced, Gomez has only ridden the Preakness once, that being a third-place finish board Concern in 1994.