Updated on 09/16/2011 8:12AM

Owner on hot streak feels redeemed


JAMAICA, N.Y. - With five wins, two seconds, and two thirds from its last 14 starters, Ernie Paragallo's Paraneck Stable is one of the hottest outfits on the grounds at Aqueduct.

To listen to Paragallo, it is not a coincidence that the hot streak has coincided with the firing of racing manager and veterinarian Steve Allday and trainer Richard Lundy earlier this month.

Paragallo fired both Allday and Lundy, saying he was unhappy with the condition of some of his horses. While Paragallo continues his search for a private trainer, his horses are running under trainer Joe Aquilino's name. Former Paragallo trainer Jennifer Leigh-Pedersen has been assisting as well.

Paragallo and Pedersen both took great satisfaction in a recent allowance win by , who had struggled mightily in stakes tries at Santa Anita and Fair Grounds this winter. Paragallo said he had been told by Allday that Griffinite was 50-percent paralyzed in his throat and couldn't run any longer. Last Saturday, Griffinite won a third-level allowance race at a mile and is now being pointed to the $100,000 Westchester Handicap at Belmont on May 8.

"Allday said the horse was paralyzed, he couldn't run anymore," Paragallo said. "Proved him to be the fool that he is. We had a specialist come in and look at him and I asked him if he needed surgery? He said, 'Surgery for what?' I said, 'Because he's paralyzed.' He said, 'What moron told you he was paralyzed?' "

Allday, who along with Lundy joined Paragallo last October, said that when Griffinite was in California for the Malibu Handicap in December, he had the horse examined by Dr. Jeff Oney, who said the horse had a problem with the arytenoid cartilage on his left side, which can be a sign of paralysis. Allday said he did not tell Paragallo the horse was paralyzed.

Allday said Griffinite showed similar signs at Fair Grounds, where he ran poorly in a turf stakes. Allday said he suggested to Paragallo that the best way to evaluate him was to put him on a high-speed treadmill.

Paragallo said Griffinite was "no more than 50-percent fit" when he ran last Saturday, making his victory even more impressive.

Paragallo was also pleased with the second-place finish by Lord ofthe Thunder in an open-company entry-level allowance race last Saturday. Lord ofthe Thunder had lost a significant amount of weight, allegedly due to ulcers, although Paragallo has questioned whether the horse really had ulcers. Lord ofthe Thunder will make his next start in the $150,000 Withers at Aqueduct on May 4.

Friday, Paragallo won with both of his starters. Magic and Bird, unraced since March 2001, won a second-level allowance race for New York-breds while Magnificent Val won a maiden race on the turf.

Blazing Fury works toward comeback

Blazing Fury, winner of the Saranac Handicap and a troubled third in the Hollywood Turf Cup, is getting closer to his seasonal debut. Friday, he breezed a solid five furlongs in 1:02.43 over Belmont's main track.

Blazing Fury worked in company with Trobien, breaking a couple of lengths behind that one and finishing five lengths in front at the wire. Trainer Jimmy Toner said his first major objective for Blazing Fury is the Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap on Belmont Stakes Day, probably with a prep during the first part of the Belmont meet.

"I'm very happy with him," Toner said. "He's filled out physically and matured mentally. He's doing as good as we could possibly expect him to be doing. It's just the idea of a couple of more breezes and we're ready to go. He trains much better on the turf, but we have to wait for the turf to open. In the interim, he's trained more aggressively on dirt this year than he has previously."

Serey will take some time off

Juan Serey, the leading trainer in New York in 2000, said Friday he was not well and planned on taking an extended vacation. Serey gave no timetable for his return to training.

Serey, who has had a tough year with only five winners from 79 starters since Jan. 1, said the handful of horses that he currently has in his barn will be placed with other trainers in the coming weeks.

"I've been sick," said Serey, who declined to reveal the nature of his illness. "I haven't had a break in five or six years."

Victor Cuadra, Serey's assistant for eight years, is now training his own public stable at Aqueduct.

Among the nine horses in Cuadra's care is Say Florida Sandy, last year's New York-bred Horse of the Year. Say Florida Sandy, an 8-year-old previously trained by Serey, is one of five horses that owner John Rotella has placed with Cuadra.

"Victor has always been hands-on in Juan's stable, so it's not like much is changing," Rotella said.

Under Serey's care, Say Florida Sandy blossomed from a claimer into a graded stakes winner. In his last start for Serey, Say Florida Sandy finished fourth in the Grade 1 Carter on April 13.

o Apprentice Victor Carrero, who recently returned after breaking an ankle, took off his final seven mounts on Friday's card, complaining of pain in that same area. Carrero will likely take off the weekend and is scheduled to see his doctor on Monday. Since returning to New York on April 10, Carrero was 4-4-5 from 40 starts.

o Aaron Gryder took off his final mount on Friday's card after twisting a knee during a gate mishap in the fifth race. Gryder twisted his knee when his mount, Passionate Pride, acted up at the gate. The horse was scratched. After riding one more race, Gryder took off Perfect Stranger in the eighth.

- additional reporting by Karen M. Johnson