02/27/2006 12:00AM

Out since October, Migliore to return

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Galloping Grocer (right) holds off the late-charging Rum Point by a nose.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Jockey Richard Migliore launches his comeback with a single mount on Thursday's Big A card.

He has been sidelined since breaking a leg and injuring an Achilles tendon in a paddock accident at Belmont Park on Oct. 20.

He returns in the sixth race aboard Teakwood, a 3-year-old New York-bred first-timer sent out by trainer Dominic Galluscio.

Migliore, who turns 42 on March 14, was galloping horses in Florida until last week. He has started the process of getting back on horses for New York trainers.

"I'm ready to jump back into the fray," he said. "I want to get started and show people that I'm back so they are comfortable with the fact that I am riding again."

Migliore's immediate goal is lining up clients before racing moves to the main track on March 29.

"I obviously don't have a lot of business right now," said Migliore. "It will be a rebuilding period, and I'm going to use the next few weeks to build business. I've been away four months, and I'm sure people are going to want to see me ride. I'm going to have to work and get some opportunities. If I get them, I'll make the most of them."

In addition to galloping horses, Migliore spent much time in the gym as he prepared for the comeback.

"My fitness level is pretty good," he said. "I did more preparation-wise in the gym than I've done coming off any other injury. I'm very comfortable with my body. Now it's a matter of getting the opportunities."

Successful comeback for 'Grocer'

Galloping Grocer delivered a welcome victory for trainer Dominick Schettino on Saturday.

Making his first start since his 21-length loss against New York-breds in the Empire Classic in late October, Galloping Grocer dug in gamely to earn a second-level allowance win in open company.

After putting away the pacesetting Dragooner, Galloping Grocer fought on, holding off a late charge from Rum Point by a nose.

"He ran a tough race," said Schettino. "He put a horse away and another came at him. It looked like that horse was going to go by, but he wouldn't let him get in front of him. Once he eyed that horse, he put in another couple of jumps."

The victory was an encouraging start to the new year following Galloping Grocer's frustrating and injury-filled 3-year-old campaign.

At this time last year, the gelding was considered a top Triple Crown prospect. He had closed out his 2-year-old season with a neck loss in the Grade 2 Remsen to Rockport Harbor.

Named New York-bred champion male of 2004, Galloping Grocer did make it to the Preakness, where he ran 13th. He was winless in seven starts in 2005 as he battled a number of ailments, including a leg infection.

"He had a lot of adversity," Schettino said. "He was hampered by one problem after another. This year, everything has gone right so far. Knock on wood, he will go forward with no setbacks."

Galloping Grocer suffered a minor setback Saturday when he grabbed a right front quarter.

"He should be fine in a couple of days," Schettino said. "We cleaned it up. It doesn't look as bad the morning after the race."

Schettino has not settled on a next start, but he has a wide range of statebred and open spots to pick from.

"He's got a big heart," Schettino said. "He could have laid down at the eighth pole on Saturday, but he dug back in even though he was tired. It could be an exciting 4-year-old season."

Evening Attire heads Stymie cast

The handicap warriors of the inner track assemble Saturday for the 51st running of the Stymie at 1 1/8 miles.

Stakes coordinator Andrew Byrnes listed three as probable starters: Evening Attire (117 pounds), Infinite Glory (115), and Salic Law (113). Chilly Rooster (112), Liquor Cabinet (113), and Manchurian (112) are possible starters.

Evening Attire, the class of the field with more than $2.5 million in earnings, has had a productive winter at the Big A in Grade 3 handicaps, winning the Stuyvesant on Nov. 19 and finishing a late-running second in the Aqueduct on Jan. 21.

Infinite Glory will step up into a stakes following consecutive commanding allowance victories. Salic Law, exclusively a turf runner over the summer, was fourth and fifth in his last two allowance races.