12/03/2002 1:00AM

Pocus Hocus looks for real


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Speed, an affinity for the inner track, and strong connections make Pocus Hocus a logical play in Thursday's feature at Aqueduct, a second-level allowance race for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles.

It was just about this time a year ago that Pocus Hocus magically turned her career around. After getting beaten by double-digit lengths in five of her first seven starts, Pocus Hocus rolled to a 16 1/2-length maiden win when she raced on the inner track for the first time.

She followed that with an 8 3/4-length entry-level allowance win, also over the inner track. After two such overwhelming performances, trainer Jimmy Jerkens ran her in the Grade 3 Rare Treat Handicap, where she set a strong pace before fading to third. Pocus Hocus was placed second when Zonk was disqualified from second for interference.

On March 29, Pocus Hocus finished a well-beaten fifth in the Grade 3 Next Move Handicap, but came out of the race with an ankle injury, according to Jerkens.

"She could've went on if we had been a little more aggressive, but we decided to give her some time," Jerkens said.

Pocus Hocus has been working fairly regularly since early October and looms the main speed under Jose Santos, who returns from Japan, where he finished second in the World Jockey Championships.

Pocus Hocus is the only member of the six-horse field with a win at the distance, but may have to deal with some early pace pressure from We'll See Ya. That could help Consort Music or Miss Cap pick up the pieces.

Consort Music has been off the board just once in eight starts, that being a ninth-place finish in the Miss Grillo Stakes on turf. Most recently, she returned from a 3 1/2-month layoff to win an entry-level allowance race over odds-on favorite Election Star. In her only start around two turns, Consort Music was a well-beaten second behind Blu Spur in an off-the-turf allowance race at Saratoga.

Allen Jerkens will try to stretch out Miss Cap for the first time. A 3-year-old daughter of Capote, Miss Cap won a nonwinners-of-two-lifetime allowance race going seven furlongs. She defeated Arabis, who came back to win her next start. Miss Cap is 2 for 4 since blinkers were added.

Whitewashed goes turf to dirt for Deborah Bodner, who is 4 for 13 with such moves the last few years. Bodner claimed Whitewashed from Todd Pletcher two starts back for $60,000.

Fade Sabihonda, beaten a combined 71 lengths in three starts since arriving from Argentina, completes the field

for Aqueduct entries.

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