08/22/2001 12:00AM

Personal Pro takes Albany


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Trainer Jim Bond said at one point he was so high on Personal Pro that he envisioned him as his Travers horse. That plan didn't pan out, but Bond said he expects to see more good things to come from Personal Pro, who won his stakes debut Wednesday at Saratoga in the $198,667 Albany Handicap.

Personal Pro, with his new rider, Edgar Prado, kicked in strongly in the final sixteenth of the 1 1/8-mile Albany and was a 3 1/4-length winner over longshot Sherpa. Another longshot, Farmer Jake, finished third, one length behind the runner-up. Bakhoor, the 5-2 favorite, never threatened and was ninth in the 12-horse field.

Personal Pro covered the distance in 1:50.49 over a fast track.

The Albany was the final leg of the Big Apple Triple for New York-bred 3-year-olds. Bond won the first leg, the Mike Lee at Belmont Park in June, with Solar Deputy. Personal Pro ran fourth that day.

Personal Pro came back and was a hard-luck second behind Sweet Ricky in the New York Derby, the middle leg of the Triple, but Bond didn't give up on the son of Distinctive Pro.

Personal Pro "is really an outstanding horse," said Bond, who also won the Albany in 1997 with Mr. Groush. "He really doesn't know how to run yet. I think you will see a lot from this colt."

Personal Pro ($13.60) is owned by James F. Edwards.

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