06/15/2004 11:00PM

Private City set for comeback


ELMONT, N.Y. - When horsemen saw the conditions of Friday's classified allowance race, many figured it was written for Ghostzapper, who has not been out since taking last September's Grade 1 Vosburgh Handicap.

But trainer Bobby Frankel is planning to train Ghostzapper up to the Grade 2 Tom Fool Handicap on July 4, which leaves a modest field of five for Friday's $53,000 allowance test.

Without Ghostzapper, the seven-furlong race looks like a perfect spot for Private City to make his first start in eight months. Private City, who raced 15 times as a 3-year-old in 2003, last ran on Oct. 19 at Belmont Park, when he was put up via disqualification in a third-level allowance race.

While preparing for a possible start in the Cigar Mile, Private City developed a knee chip that needed surgical intervention.

returned to trainer Allen Jerkens' barn earlier this year and shows five timed workouts since May 18, including a four-furlong move in 48.60 seconds Wednesday morning from the gate.

"I thought he'd go a little faster than that, but Herbie [Castillo] said he was going fine," said Jerkens, who will have Castillo up on Friday. "I think he's pretty fit, though he's a little on the heavy side; he's not a skinny horse."

Private City should get a good stalking trip behind speedsters Bishop Court Hill and Key Deputy.

caught a tougher field than this when he returned from an October layoff in an optional claimer on May 20. He dueled with Don Six through a half-mile in 44.42 seconds before backing up to finish last. Bishop Court Hill last won on Sept. 25 in a 6 1/2-furlong race at Belmont.

The mystery horse in the field is . After running a decent second in the Grade 3 Bold Ruler Handicap on May 8, he was eased in the stretch of the Grade 2 True North on Belmont Day. In that race, Key Deputy was right off the flank of eventual winner Speightstown around the turn, before something went amiss.

Whatever the problem was could not have been too serious, as Key Deputy blew out a swift three furlongs in 35.40 seconds on Tuesday and comes back on 13 days' rest.

"We're still trying to figure it out," said Leana Willaford, assistant to trainer Bill Mott, when asked about the True North. "He came back and worked fine. He seems no worse for wear."

Aggadan, who finished second behind Ghostzapper in the Vosburgh, and The Deputy Is Home, who makes his first start off the Scott Lake claim, complete the field.