07/23/2003 11:00PM

'Rockin' Robin' ready to roll


After a win and two losses in graded stakes, Go Rockin' Robin returns to the statebred ranks in Saturday's $125,000-added New York Derby at Finger Lakes.

Seven 3-year-old New York-breds were entered in the New York Derby, the middle leg of the Big Apple Triple. Bossanova, who won the first race in the series, the Mike Lee at Belmont Park in June, is sidelined with an injury.

Go Rockin' Robin and Spite the Devil are the only graded winners in the New York Derby, which will be run at 1 1/16 miles.

Go Rockin' Robin was the upset winner of the Grade 2 Peter Pan at Belmont on May 24. In his next race, he finished fourth as the favorite in the Leonard Richards at Delaware Park and then was beaten 17 lengths in the Dwyer at Belmont on July 6.

Schwartz blamed a bad trip for the loss at Delaware, but didn't give an excuse for the Dwyer, where the colt faced better horses than he meets in the New York Derby.

"I don't fear anybody; he is ready," said Schwartz, who trains Go Rockin' Robin for his father, Herbert. "He's dropping back to easier competition. He has had his bad races."

Shaun Bridgmohan rides Go Rockin' Robin from post 6. A wet track would be ideal for Go Rockin' Robin, who won the Peter Pan in the slop.

Go Rockin' Robin's biggest threat is Traffic Chief, who is 3 for 4 for owner Barry Schwartz. After annihilating statebreds in his first three starts, Traffic Chief was a sharp second in the off-the-turf Hill Prince Stakes last month at Belmont for trainer Mike Hushion, who is winning at a 30 percent clip this year.

Heberto Castillo Jr. rides Traffic Chief, who drew the rail and should be on or near the early lead in the absence of any true speed horses.

Traffic Chief is coupled in the wagering with Presence, a half-brother to the 1999 New York Derby winner, David.

Trained by Allen Jerkens, Spite the Devil won the Grade 3 Withers at Aqueduct in May, but lost his next two starts. In the Mike Lee, he was beaten 21 lengths after the trailing the field throughout the seven-furlong race.

Bo Bo's Vice won the restricted Cab Calloway in the mud at Belmont in June.

"It might be too short, but he'll be coming like a freight train," said Jim Bond, Bo Bo's Vice's trainer. "He needs a pace to run at."

Longshots Flag the Groom and Warning Signal complete the field.