07/07/2001 12:00AM

Pompeii sharp in return from rest


A three-month layoff did little to diminish Pompeii's good form.

Racing for the first time since March 31, the 4-year-old Pompeii sat off the pace of the early leaders and then closed willingly to score a length victory in Saturday's $50,000 Doylestown Handicap at Philadelphia Park.

Ridden by Roberto Alvarado, Pompeii ($4) covered 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.43 while winning for the seventh time in 14 career starts for trainer John Kimmel and owner Robert Clay.

Pompeii sat comfortably in fifth in the field of eight fillies and mares and began to move closer to dueling leaders Weekend Kaper and another New York-based filly, Tax Affair, after six furlongs run in 1:11.48. Pompeii moved four wide on the turn to quickly put away Tax Affair and was hand-ridden to the wire. Gold for My Gal continued to gamely chase Pompeii, but could not gain much ground and had to settle for second, six lengths clear of third-place finisher Powerful Package.

Alvarado said he was never really concerned and was content to win without a big margin.

"I had plenty of horse the whole time," he said. "I basically just tapped her on the shoulder a couple times to keep her going and hand rode her to the finish. We were prepping for her next start, probably at Monmouth."