01/01/2003 12:00AM

Penobscot Bay in from Maryland

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OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Though Penobscot Bay successfully stretched out in distance for his last start, trainer Rodney Jenkins isn't convinced his newly turned 3-year-old is a true route horse. Jenkins hopes to find out for sure when he ships the colt from his Maryland base to Aqueduct for Saturday's $75,000 Count Fleet Stakes at one mile and 70 yards.

Penobscot Bay is a Kentucky-bred son of Is It True who has won both of his starts. After winning his debut sprinting, Penobscot Bay won a 1 1/16-mile entry-level allowance race by three lengths in a pedestrian 1:47.67. The early fractions for that race were 26.50 seconds, 52.15, and 1:16.97.

"They went so slow, he was cantering along. It was more like a two-minute lick," Jenkins said. "When he asked him, he sprinted home. Whether he can lay up there when they go 47 [seconds] or 48, I don't know, but I got to give him a shot."

Penobscot Bay was highly thought of at auction, bringing $310,000 from owner Dorsey Brown, who races under the name On the Run Farm. Brown is hoping for the same good fortune that he had with Running Tide, a $50,000 purchase who went 5 for 5 before being injured last August.

"It wasn't my idea to pay that much for him, but he and his wife stepped up to the plate and bought him," Jenkins said. "I bought him at Calder and he vetted fine. He's a great big colt. He's immature but he looks like he's okay."

On Tuesday, Penobscot Bay worked four furlongs in 46.60 seconds at Laurel, the fastest of 42 works at the distance.

Penobscot Bay may be second choice behind the undefeated New York-bred Grey Comet in the Count Fleet. Others expected to run include Formidable Fox, Heavenly Kevin, and Mustang Jock. Stong and Midnight Charlie are possible.

Rice has bevy of 3-year-olds

Trainer Linda Rice nominated a trio of 3-year-olds to the Count Fleet, but is not expected to start any of them.

Just Vinnie, a son of Sword Dance, made his first start for Rice on Wednesday, finishing a well-beaten second in a six-furlong entry-level allowance race at Aqueduct. Just Vinnie was coming off a 2 1/4-length victory in an $80,000 maiden claiming race at Churchill Downs, when he was trained by Henry Cochran.

Auto City, a son of Carson City, was entered in Wednesday's race, but was scratched. On Wednesday, Auto City worked a sharp five furlongs in 1:00.29 over Belmont's training track.

Rice entered Second in Command in an allowance race for Friday that didn't fill. Second in Command won two consecutive starts before getting beaten 23 lengths by Super Fuse in the Huntington Stakes in November.

"I was a little intimidated by [Super Fuse] before the race; after the race I was very intimidated,'' Rice said. "I think we'll stay away from him.''

Rights Reserved, a son of With Approval, finished a well-beaten sixth in his first start for Rice on Dec. 19. That was a two-turn, one-mile race. Rice said she plans on cutting Rights Reserved back in distance and may run him in the $75,000 Fred "Cappy" Capossela Stakes at six furlongs on Jan. 20.

Roar Emotion pointed to Cicada

Roar Emotion, the Demoiselle Stakes winner, is scheduled to resume training this week, weather permitting. Her connections believe her 3-year-old debut will come in the Grade 3 Cicada Stakes on March 22.

Trainer Carlos Martin, the son of Roar Emotion's trainer Jose Martin, said Roar Emotion had a month off since her front-running score in the Grade 2 Demoiselle on Nov. 30.

Carlos Martin said if the track was okay, Roar Emotion would begin training on Friday. She would begin breezing in February to get ready for the seven-furlong Cicada.

"She hasn't lost any conditioning," Martin said. "It shouldn't be hard to get her ready to go seven-eighths in one and a half months. Should be a breeze.''

Pupil tops Friday feature

Pupil, one of three John Servis-trained fillies nominated to the Jan. 11 Affectionately Handicap, will skip that race and instead head Friday's featured second-level allowance race at Aqueduct.

A 4-year-old daughter of Unbridled, Pupil returned from a two-month layoff to finish second behind Arabis at this level. In that race, Pupil was three wide on both turns, lugged in during the stretch, but fought on to finish second.

Pupil has two wins and five seconds from seven starts. She must overcome the outside post under jockey C.C. Lopez.

Pupil's main competition figures to come from Chase Gap and Database. Chase Gap has run two strong races for trainer Todd Pletcher since coming back from a two-month freshening. One of those victories came over the inner track on Dec. 18.

Database drops back into allowance company after an eighth-place finish in the Grade 3 Anne Arundel Handicap on Dec. 14. Prior to that, she won an entry-level allowance race by 5 3/4 lengths over Aqueduct's main track.

* Jockeys Norberto Arroyo Jr. and Aaron Gryder called in sick on Wednesday, creating 17 jockey changes on the New Year's Day card. Arroyo missed out on two winners when Diane Nelson guided the Robert Klesaris first-time starter Crusader Queen ($22.40) to a front-running score in the second and Victor Carrero got Infiltrator ($32.20) up in time in the eighth.

* John Lee has been promoted to director of broadcasting for the New York Racing Association.