02/21/2004 12:00AM

Redskin Warrior picks up where he left off last fall


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Away from the races since October, Redskin Warrior made a triumphant return in Saturday's $81,825 at Aqueduct.

Redskin Warrior, under Richard Migliore, was a five-length winner over Scary Bob in the six-furlong Best Turn. It was a nose back to Matsui in third in the seven-horse field of 3-year-olds. Smokume, the slight 2-1 favorite over Redskin Warrior, finished fourth and was followed under the wire by Abbondanza, Kiowa Prince, and Excellent Band.

Although Redskin Warrior was keen to take the early lead down the backstretch, Abbondanza assumed the role of pacesetter through an opening quarter-mile in 22.48 seconds and a half-mile in 45.59 seconds. Redskin Warrior, who was racing in second position, seized the lead with three-sixteenths remaining and drew away.

Redskin Warrior ($6.40) covered the distance in 1:09.82 over a fast track.

"He broke running and I didn't want to be on the lead and was looking to follow somebody. He was content to follow," Migliore said. "He is extremely talented."

Jennifer Pedersen trains Redskin Warrior, a son of Indian Charlie, for Ernie Paragallo's Paraneck Stable. Redskin Warrior has won 3 of 4 starts, all in sprints. After easily winning a first-level allowance on Oct. 30 at Aqueduct, Redskin Warrior was vanned off the track because he cut up his front ankles during the race.

Pedersen said she isn't certain where Redskin Warrior will run next.

"I would like to try him two turns; that's our biggest goal right now," Pedersen said.

The next stakes for 3-year-olds at Aqueduct is the Grade 3 Gotham at a mile around one turn on the main track on March 20. Last year, the Gotham was run on the inner track at two turns because of a weather delay in the opening of the main track.