10/30/2003 1:00AM

Patton's Victory comes back early


Patton's Victory is ahead of schedule in his training, and as a result will make his comeback from a summer layoff earlier than expected in the $30,000 Woodlands Handicap at the Woodlands in Kansas City, Kan., on Saturday.

The 1 1/16-mile race is one of five stakes on the closing day card, with three of the races for Quarter Horses.

Patton's Victory was to make his return from a two-month freshening in the $100,000 Schaefer Mile at Hoosier Park on Nov. 15. But he came out of an Oct. 25 five-furlong work in 1:00.80 ready to race, which led his trainer, Stanley Roberts, to run him Saturday.

"I think he's kind of back on his game now," said Roberts, who is still pointing Patton's Victory for the Schaefer.

Patton's Victory is highweighted at 125 pounds for the Woodlands. He won the Grade 3, $100,000 Fifth Season last spring at Oaklawn Park, and more recently won or placed in a handful of stakes around the Midwest. Alex Birzer has the mount on Saturday.

The chief threat could be Morning Merry, who has won two stakes in two starts this meet. Trained by Jim McCoy, he comes into the Woodlands Handicap on the heels of a 13 1/2-length win in a division of the Kansas Thorough-bred Association Derby. Before that two-turn race, Morning Merry beat older rivals at six furlongs in the Sunflower Handicap.

Other races of note on the Saturday card include the $30,000 Woodlands Derby for Thorough-breds, and the $98,458 Kansas Jackpot Futurity for Quarter Horses.