03/04/2004 1:00AM

Pomeroy may step out of shadow


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Trainer Patrick Biancone's top Kentucky Derby prospect, the undefeated Lion Heart, is generating a lot of buzz as he prepares for his 2004 debut in Saturday's San Rafael at Santa Anita. Pomeroy, another talented but less-hyped 3-year-old in Biancone's barn, is also getting ready to return to the races.

From California on Thursday, Biancone said Pomeroy, who has not run since September, is likely to start in the Grade 3, $200,000 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct on March 20.

The one-mile Gotham is the first Kentucky Derby prep of consequence in New York and is followed by the Grade 1, $750,000 Wood Memorial on April 10. Biancone won the 2002 Gotham with Mayakovsky.

"There are three things I like about the Gotham," Biancone said. "First, I love New York. Second, you can't find a better track than Aqueduct, and third, the timing is right."

Pomeroy hasn't raced since the Grade 3 Kentucky Cup Juvenile at Turfway Park on Sept. 13. A son of Boundary, Pomeroy won the race by a nose, but was disqualified and placed third for swerving out into another horse at the three-sixteenths pole. Pomeroy came out of the race with an ankle chip, which was surgically removed. He returned to Biancone's Santa Anita barn on Dec. 1.

Owned by Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor, Pomeroy was quick to impress as a 2-year-old, winning his first two starts last summer at Belmont Park and Monmouth Park by large margins. In his third start, he finished a well-beaten second to Cuvee in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special as the favorite.

When asked to compare Pomeroy to Lion Heart, Biancone said "he is in his shadow, but shadows are never far behind."

Pomeroy, who worked seven furlongs in 1:27.20 at Santa Anita on Wednesday, is scheduled to fly to New York on March 17 and will be ridden by Mike Smith in the Gotham.

The Biancone-trained Whoopi Cat may join Pomeroy on his flight to New York to run in the Grade 3, $100,000 Cicada for 3-year-old fillies, the same day as the Gotham. Whoopi Cat was undefeated in two starts last year, including the Grade 2 Adirondack at Saratoga. In two starts this year in California - the Grade 1 Las Virgenes and Grade 2 Santa Ynez - Whoopi Cat finished off the board.

Cut sidelines Rogue Agent

Rogue Agent will miss Saturday's $75,000-added Stymie Handicap because he reopened a cut on his leg that he sustained during the running of the Aqueduct Handicap in January.

Rogue Agent, who would have been among the favorites in the Stymie, finished third in the Aqueduct Handicap and ran back in the John B. Campbell at Laurel Park last month, finishing second. Rogue Agent was disqualified and placed third in the Campbell for impeding Evening Attire.

"He was galloping on [Tuesday] and reopened the cut he got on his back heel in the Aqueduct," said Mike Brice, Rogue Agent's trainer. "I didn't want to run him with a bar shoe. I need him to be around for the whole year."

Brice said he would point Rogue Agent to an allowance race later this month, with an eye on the $75,000 Kings Point Handicap for New York-breds on May 2.

Security now in-house

The New York Racing Association's contract with its security firm, Wackenhut Corporation, expired on March 1, and now all of NYRA's security personnel are directly employed by NYRA.

Kenneth T. Cook, NYRA's director of security since December, said that about 35 Wackenhut supervisors were affected when the contract expired. Some of the supervisors were relieved of their duties and the others joined NYRA's security team.

Regarding the decision not to renew the contract with Wackenhut, Cook said it made sense from a business standpoint not to contract an outside company for NYRA's security needs.

Ten-year-old 4 for 5 on year

In C C's Honor, a 10-year-old, won his fourth race from five starts this year in Thursday's second race, a $7,500 claimer. In addition to Thursday's win, the gelding also won two other $7,500 claiming races and a $10,000 claimer.

On Thursday, In C C's Honor was claimed back by owner Dennis Drazin and trainer Jason Servis. Drazin lost In C C's Honor for $7,500 on Jan. 21 to trainer Scott Lake, who claimed the horse for himself.

Drazin originally claimed In C C's from owner Richard Englander and Lake for $75,000 in July 2002.

* Preparing for the Gotham, Redskin Warrior worked five furlongs in 1:00.41 on Wednesday at Aqueduct. Jennifer Pedersen, Redskin Warrior's trainer, said the Best Turn winner would work twice more before the Gotham.