11/22/2009 12:00AM

Plan B for Naughty New Yorker


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Trainer Pat Kelly was knocked off stride by the cancellation of the Grade 3 Stuyvesant Handicap last weekend at Aqueduct.

Kelly had targeted Naughty New Yorker for the Stuyvesant, but it was was dropped after luring only five runners.

Fortunately for Kelly, he was able to fall back on Sunday's $65,000 Study Hard Stakes, in which Naughty New Yorker will face seven other New York-breds at one mile.

Even if the Stuyvesant had gone as carded, Naughty New Yorker wasn't a lock to run on the wet weekend. A 7-year-old who has career earnings of over $1 million, he has developed a distaste for mud and slop as he's grown older.

He caught slop in his last race, the Empire Classic for statebreds Oct. 24. After spotting the leader 16 lengths in the early stages, Naughty New Yorker rallied from 11th to get fifth behind Haynesfield.

"I guess the way it worked out, we would have scratched from the Stuyvesant," Kelly said. "He has not run good in the mud for the last four years. He won a couple of races on a wet track as a 2-year-old, and that was a long time ago. Maybe he was just better than the competition, and he overcame it."

Naughty New Yorker is winless in six tries this season. Kelly said he is hoping Naughty New Yorker can regain his form from Saratoga, where he stormed home in the Funny Cide Stakes and missed by a neck.

"He's doing good," Kelly said. "Hopefully, the weather holds out."

Among the younger legs in the race, Law Enforcement, a 4-year-old colt, is also looking to rebound. He captured a pair of statebred stakes over the summer. Following those wins, Law Enforcement stepped up to Grade 1 Forego Stakes at Saratoga, where he was no match for Pyro.

Trained by Mark Hennig, Law Enforcement returned on New York Showcase Day, finishing 10th in the slop in Hudson Stakes.

Groomedforvictory has the best recent form in the field. A 4-year-old gelding trained by Barclay Tagg, Groomedforvictory posted second-level allowance wins in his last two races, against statebreds and in open company. The distance is also a perfect fit; he is 3-1-1 in five races at one mile.

Completing the field are Love Abroad, Platinum Couple, Undocumented, Be Bullish, and Almighty Silver.