02/11/2002 1:00AM

'Tom' may wait for Toboggan


JAMAICA, N.Y. - Peeping Tom returned to the winner's circle for the first time in nine months, but his trainer, Pat Reynolds, is in no rush to return him to graded-stakes competition.

Peeping Tom, last early, rallied along the rail and earned a hard-fought, half-length decision over Run Kush Run in a classified allowance race Sunday at Aqueduct. It ended an eight-race losing streak dating to May 6, when Peeping Tom won the Grade 1 Carter Handicap. Reynolds liked the way 5-year-old Peeping Tom was able to run down the loose-on-the-lead Run Kush Run over the speed-favoring inner track. His final time of 1:09.66 for six furlongs was solid.

"I was real happy with his race," Reynolds said. "He came through on the rail, which he hadn't done in quite a while. There were a lot of things to like. He's a little tired, but you're supposed to be tired after you run hard. It's a big step in the right direction."

Rather than wheel Peeping Tom back in eight days and try to defend his title in Monday's Grade 2 General George Handicap at Laurel Park, Reynolds will look for less taxing spots. One possibility is the March 16 Toboggan Handicap, an ungraded $100,000 race that Peeping Tom won last year. The seven-furlong race will be contested over Aqueduct's main track.

"It's the right distance, but it's not enough time," Reynolds said of the seven-furlong General George. "It's a question of whether you want to tackle the fastest and the best or manage him into some easier spots. I'd be the first to say he's lost a step."

Peeping Tom is 4-1-1 in seven starts over Aqueduct's main track so the Toboggan would be a good spot for him. If he were to run well, Reynolds could take another crack at the Carter, which this year has been moved up three weeks to April 13.

While Peeping Tom will skip the General George, several New York-based horses worked over the weekend for that race. Affirmed Success, the 2000 General George winner, drilled six furlongs in 1:13.27 Sunday over Belmont's training track.

"We're still on target," trainer Richard Schosberg said. "He's doing great, held his weight well. He came out of his last race in great shape."

Affirmed Success last ran on Jan. 5, where he blew a three-length lead in the stretch and finished second to Boston Party in an allowance race at a mile and 70 yards.

Affirmed Success, who will be ridden by Richard Migliore, most likely will be the starting highweight in the General George at 121 pounds, thus conceding weight to some nice horses including Here's Zealous (115), Wrangler (115), Voodoo (111), and Dream Run (111).

Wrangler, who won the Paumonok Handicap in January, worked three furlongs in 37.12 seconds Sunday and is back under consideration for the General George, trainer Jimmy Jerkens said. Last Friday, Jerkens said he would most likely skip the General George and point for the Toboggan. Monday, Jerkens said he may not want to wait that long to run Wrangler, who is 2 for 2 under Jerkens and who has won five of his last seven overall.

"If the Toboggan wasn't so far away we'd run there," Jerkens said. "He's not easy to train."

Iron Deputy back in training

Jerkens reported that Iron Deputy, winner of the Count Fleet Stakes in January, has resumed light training and could be back to the races sooner than originally anticipated.

Following the Count Fleet, Iron Deputy was diagnosed with a fracture of his left foreleg. Although labeled a fracture by Dr. Larry Bramlage, Jerkens said the injury is more like a "demineralization of bone." No surgery was needed.

"Bramlage said as soon as he got sound enough that activity and circulation will help it heal," Jerkens said. "He's been good and sound, so far it looks like recovery is going well. We took X-rays a week ago and it's filling in good."

Jerkens did not want to speculate on when Iron Deputy could run.

Several options for Saratoga Blues

Trainer Tony Dutrow said Saratoga Blues came out of his victory in Saturday's Whirlaway Stakes in good order and is under consideration for either the Louisiana Derby on March 10 or the Tampa Bay Derby on March 17.

"At this point, I'm going forward like he's good enough," Dutrow said, regarding running in the Triple Crown prep races. "If he shows me that he isn't, then I'll stop."

Saratoga Blues, a son of Twining, is 3 for 3.

* King's Messenger was no match for Wrangler in his last start, but meets no such animal in Wednesday's third-level allowance feature at six furlongs. Wednesday's card features a pick six carryover of $37,225.