10/12/2004 11:00PM

'Park Avenue' to get break from track until winter

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Trainer Jim Ryerson will give Park Avenue Ball the rest of the year off following the colt's fifth-place finish in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park last Saturday.

The New Jersey-bred Park Avenue Ball made a positive impression at Monmouth Park in his first three starts. He started strongly with wins in a statebred maiden race and the Tyro Stakes. Park Avenue Ball made the logical progression to the Grade 3 Sapling, Monmouth's top event for 2-year-olds. He had a narrow lead in the stretch of the Sapling but could not hold off late charge from Evil Minister.

Park Avenue Ball rebounded strongly to pop up on the national radar screen with an upset score in the Grade 2 Futurity at Belmont.

That set the stage for the Champagne, which could have launched him on to the Breeders' Cup.

"He came out of the race good," said Ryerson. "He just didn't run his race. Now we'll freshen him up."

Park Avenue Ball will head south to Florida with the rest of Ryerson's stable. He could surface at Gulfstream Park over the winter.

Comet Stakes likely next for Doctor Voodoo

Ryerson has several options available this weekend for Doctor Voodoo, his other stakes-winning 2-year-old.

The Meadowlands offers the $60,000 Comet Stakes at six furlongs Friday night. On Saturday, Belmont serves up a similar event: the $75,000 added Cowdin Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs.

All things considered, Ryerson was leaning toward the Comet.

"It will probably be a little easier spot," he said.

The Comet drew a field of eight, including a New Jersey-bred entry of Who's the Cowboy and High Scorer from the Kevin Sleeter barn.

Doctor Voodoo, second to Park Avenue Ball in the Tyro, has yet to venture outside New Jersey. He has won 3 of 5 starts, including his last two.

The most recent was by far the most impressive.

Doctor Voodoo rolled to a 7 1/2-length win in Monmouth's Rockhill Native Stakes on Sept. 22. He posted a Beyer Speed Figure of 88 in that six-furlong race. That number, a 21-point improvement over his previous best, trumps everyone else in the Comet field.

Eibar Coa has the return riding assignment.

Remuneration, trained by Todd Pletcher, owns the next best Beyer Figure with an 80 recorded in a Saratoga maiden victory. John Velazquez, who will also ride Pletcher's Host in the Grade 3 Cliff Hanger Handicap Friday, has the mount.

Plenty heads full Miss Liberty

The Friday card also includes the $60,000 Miss Liberty Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at one mile and 70 yards on the grass. The race filled easily with 12 set to go and four more waiting on the alternate list.

The Beyer Figures point squarely at Plenty, who posted Beyers of 90 or better in each of her last three starts, including a runner-up finish in the Grade 3 Martha Washington Breeders' Cup Stakes at Pimlico.