07/04/2001 11:00PM

Is Pompeii ready to fire off long layoff?


Pompeii might be a vulnerable favorite when she makes her first start since March 31 in Saturday's $50,000 Doylestown Handicap at Philadelphia Park.

If Pompeii, a graded winner, is ready to fire off the bench, she is the one to beat among the 11 fillies and mares entered in the 1 1/8-mile Doylestown Handicap on the dirt.

But if Pompeii, who carries 118 pounds, needs the race, Tax Affair and Gold for My Gal, the 119-pound highweight, are perfectly capable of winning the Doylestown.

Pompeii impressively drew off to win the 1 1/8-mile Rare Treat Handicap by 3 3/4 lengths at Aqueduct in February. In her last start, she finished a narrow second in the Grade 3 Next Move to Atelier after drifting out in the stretch.

There wasn't much between Pompeii and Tax Affair in the Next Move. Tax Affair finished third, only a head behind Pompeii, after getting loose on the lead early.

Trainer John Kimmel has named Roberto Alvarado Jr. to ride Pompeii, who drew post 4.

Tax Affair has won two of four starts since the Next Move and wheels back 10 days after a terrible performance on grass in a Belmont Park allowance race.

Tax Affair, trained by Scott Lake, will be ridden by Jose Flores.

Gold for My Gal was entered over her head in a couple of starts this year against the likes of Gourmet Girl, Lu Ravi, and Heritage of Gold. But with this crowd, Gold for My Gal is a good fit. One of her best races came at Philly Park when she finished second to Jostle in last year's Grade 2 Cotillion.