09/06/2007 11:00PM

Pool Land resurges, aiming to win a Grade 1

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ELMONT, N.Y. - Pool Land, a Grade 1-winning filly of 2006, is back in training and could return to the races later this month.

Winner of last year's Ruffian Stakes at Belmont, Pool Land has not raced since finishing ninth, 17 lengths behind race-winner Round Pond in the Breeders' Cup Distaff last November at Churchill Downs. She emerged from that race with a hind leg injury that her connections thought would take 90 days to heal. Ultimately, it took 5 1/2 months.

Pool Land, a 5-year-old daughter of Silver Deputy, was put back in training earlier in the summer at owner Eugene Melnyk's Winding Oaks Farm, and, five weeks ago was sent to Tom Albertrani. Pool Land had previously been trained by Todd Pletcher.

"We thought we could get another good race or two in this filly before she retires," said Phil Hronec, racing manager for owner Eugene Melnyk. "We saw such a development in her. I know she's not a young one, but she turned into a beautiful mare. We'll see what happens."

Hronec said that the ultimate goal is to win another Grade 1 with Pool Land before she likely retires in the late spring of 2008. Pool Land is not being considered for the Breeders' Cup Distaff at Monmouth on Oct. 27, Hronec said.

Pool Land worked twice at Saratoga and has worked twice at Belmont, including a five-furlong move in 59.88 seconds Friday morning over the main track. According to Albertrani, Pool Land is being pointed to the $75,000 Beautiful Pleasure Stakes here on Sept. 23.

"We were looking for a little more from her this morning," said Albertrani, who doesn't usually work his horses that fast. "We wanted to put a nice work into her today, see where we're at. If everything works out in the next couple of weeks, we'll go in that race.

"She's a nice filly to have in the barn," Albertrani added. "Something to replace Balletto. She had a pretty good foundation under here when she came into the barn."

Hronec said that the reason Pool Land was sent to Albertani is that Melnyk was looking for another trainer based in New York in addition to Pletcher and Richard Dutrow Jr.

First Defence may try Vosburgh

First Defence, runner-up to Hard Spun in the Grade 1 King's Bishop Stakes at Saratoga, could make his next start in the Grade 1 Vosburgh Stakes on Sept. 30, trainer Bobby Frankel said Friday.

Frankel previously had mentioned the Jerome Handicap on Oct. 6 as the next spot for First Defence. But Frankel said he would enter the Vosburgh and take a look at the field before deciding whether or not to run.

Many of the top East Coast sprinters such as High Finance, Attila's Storm, and Benny the Bull are likely to skip the Vosburgh and go straight to the Breeders' Cup Sprint. Diabolical has been sold and will not run again in this country this year.

"Maybe we can get a Grade 1 with him and make a stallion out of him," Frankel said. "He's out of a good mare."

First Defence is by Unbridled's Song out of Honest Lady, a Grade 1 winning dam.

Posted in Vosburgh prep

One horse who could run in the Vosburgh is the talented New York-bred Posted. But first, Posted will seek his third consecutive victory against New York-breds in a second-level allowance race on Sunday.

Posted, a son of Gone West, has looked most impressive winning a maiden special weight race for statebreds by 13 3/4 lengths here on July 14 and then a first-level statebred allowance race by 7 1/2 on Aug. 12.

In both races, he easily cleared the field, then simply galloped around the racetrack without feeling the leather of Cornelio Velasquez's whip.

"What makes him a little special is he's got an unbelievable huge stride," Bush said. "He's a big, big, big imposing horse. With that size and bulk and that kind of quickness you got a machine."

Posted could get a little test in this spot as Stonewood, drawn immediately to his inside, has excellent early speed.

English Colony heads Lights and Music

English Colony seeks his fourth consecutive victory when he meets five opponents in Sunday's $75,000 Lights and Music, an overnight stakes carded for seven furlongs on the Widener Turf Course.

English Colony, a son of Rock of Gibraltar trained by Angel Penna Jr., has won three consecutive turf sprints, including a two-length score in the Inside the Beltway overnight stakes here on July 8. He came back with a nose victory in a second-level allowance race on Aug. 9 at Saratoga.

Penna said English Colony won that allowance race despite going a slow half-mile in 52 seconds over the turf course three days before the race.

"I didn't like the way he worked," Penna said. "We didn't get to the race the way we wanted to."

Before leaving Saratoga on Monday, English Colony worked a strong half-mile in 47 seconds, the fastest of 34 moves at the distance.

Perfect Casting, fifth in the Grade 2 American Derby going 1 1/8 miles, will shorten up to seven furlongs in his first start for trainer Christophe Clement, who also sends out Quietly Mine, who finished second to English Colony in the Inside the Beltway.

Thirteen nominated to Gazelle

A total of 13 3-year-old fillies were nominated to next Saturday's Grade 1 Gazelle Stakes, the race that is supposed to mark the return of Belmont Stakes winner Rags to Riches.

Pletcher nominated four to the Gazelle, but is likely to run just Rags to Riches. Octave, another Pletcher nominee, is being pointed to the Cotillion at Philadelphia Park on Sept. 22. He also nominated Chagall and Panty Raid.

Lear's Princess, runner-up in the Coaching Club American Oaks and Alabama, is the second-most notable nominee. Other notable nominees include Tough Tiz's Sis, winner of the Hollywood Oaks; Winning Point, runner-up in the Delaware Oaks; Humble Janet, runner-up in the Arlington Park Oaks; and Boca Grande, winner of the Grade 2 Comely and runner-up in the Grade 1 Test.