08/16/2004 11:00PM

Traffic Chief sprints in return


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - A year ago at Saratoga, Traffic Chief turned heads with an impressive two-length win in the Albany. On Thursday, he makes his second start since the Albany in the $65,000-added John Morrissey Stakes

A 6 1/2-furlong race, the Morrissey drew a solid field of nine New York-breds.

has run only once in a sprint race, and that was when he won his career debut in a six-furlong race at Aqueduct in 2002. Winner of the New York Derby last year, Traffic Chief hasn't raced since finishing sixth in the Empire Classic at Belmont on Oct. 18.

Trainer Mike Hushion said Traffic Chief had "a bunch of little aches and pains. So we sent him to Florida and gave him some time."

Hushion said the Morrissey is a good starting point for Traffic Chief, a 4-year-old son of Colonial Affair.

"I'm happy with him," Hushion said. "He's good enough to run well first time out. I love the distance for him to start out. I'd hate to have him catch some real fast sprinter going six furlongs."

Javier Castellano rides Traffic Chief from post 7.

Hushion has also entered Uncle Camie, who is not coupled in the wagering with Traffic Chief. Hushion is pleased with how Uncle Camie is coming up to the race.

"He's training like a monster up here," Hushion said. "He's just doing so good. We're going to send him; he'll be on the lead. The two horses will complement each other, I think."

, with Richard Migliore aboard, will probably engage in a battle for the lead with the fleet-footed Top Shoter.

Trained by his owner, Charlton Baker, has won four of five starts at Saratoga. Despite his near-flawless record here, Top Shoter went off at nearly 8-1 in his last race here July 31. Top Shoter splashed home a 3 1/2-length winner in the mud in an open allowance race.

, a son of Will's Way, the winner of the 1996 Travers and 1997 Whitney, drops back in distance after winning a 1 1/16-mile race by 11 1/2 lengths at Belmont in July.

Will's Journey has proven to be versatile, with wins in sprints and in two-turn races. Trained by Jim Bond, Will's Journey has a couple of sharp works since his last race.

Trainer John Hertler, who has had two double-digit winners from a total of four winners at the meet, sends out longshot Affair in the Air.

- additional reporting by David Grening