04/29/2005 11:00PM

Scrappy T takes Withers

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Scrappy T earns a trip to the Preakness with a one-length victory in the Withers.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Scrappy T, buried in Bellamy Road's spectacular romp in the Wood Memorial, rebounded smartly to win the Grade 3, $150,000 for 3-year-olds Saturday afternoon at Aqueduct.

Now it's on to the Preakness for the gelding, trained by Robert Bailes.

"He's a nice horse and he's still learning," Bailes said. "He's going to have to learn real quick, because we're on our way to Maryland and the Preakness."

Scrappy T ran the mile in 1:35.74 over a sealed track listed as good at the fog-shrouded Big A. Park Avenue Ball was second with pacesetting War Plan third.

Scrappy T ($16.40) was third in the Wood, 18 1/4 lengths behind Bellamy Road. Bailes said the saddle slipped in the Wood, costing his horse a shot at finishing second.

There were no mishaps in the Withers.

Norberto Arroyo Jr., who replaced rider Rafael Bejarano, had Scrappy T in perfect stalking position throughout.

Breaking from the outside post in the seven-horse field, Scrappy T closely tracked War Plan. Scrappy T took charge turning for home and fended off the late run of Park Avenue Ball to win by one length with War Plan another 2 1/2 lengths behind.

"The outside post was a good fit for this horse," Arroyo said. "He dragged me the whole way. When I asked him to run, he responded very well."

Bailes was happy with the ride.

"Norberto judged the pace very well," Bailes said. "The only thing that worried me was that when he makes the lead early, he gets to looking around. Norberto kept him working."

Scrappy T posted his third career win and second stakes victory to go along with the Count Fleet on the Big A's inner track in January.

The New Jersey-bred Park Avenue Ball, winner of the Grade 2 Futurity at Belmont last fall, now will get a brief rest, according to his trainer, Jim Ryerson. The $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park, Ryerson's home base, is a possible long-range objective.

"We have to sit back and evaluate whether we want to back up and sprint or prepare to run in the Haskell," Ryerson said.

The race was major disappointment for several colts once considered Triple Crown runners.

Survivalist, winner of the the Gotham Stakes and a possible Kentucky Derby runner as late as Monday, ran fifth, with B.B. Best, third in the Fountain of Youth and the Florida Derby, sixth.

Proud Accolade, winner of the Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont Park last fall, was the trailer.