05/30/2006 11:00PM

Unlike Velazquez, Scat Daddy behind schedule

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OCEANPORT, N.J. - John Velazquez, healing quicker than expected, is set to return. Scat Daddy, a first-timer ready to run, has been idling since Keeneland.

The wait ends for both Friday, when they team up in the third race at Monmouth Park, a five-furlong maiden special weight for 2-year-olds.

Velazquez, the Eclipse Award-winning jockey the last two years, has been sidelined since suffering a broken shoulder and a cracked rib in a spill at Keeneland on April 20. Initial projections had him out until July.

Velazquez returns for one mount for his main client, trainer Todd Pletcher.

Scat Daddy, a $250,000 yearling purchase at Keeneland last September, spent a portion of the winter at the Palm Meadows training center with assistant trainer Anthony Sciametta. Scat Daddy went with Pletcher to Keeneland, Churchill Downs, and finally Belmont Park, but failed to get in a race.

"They've been entering him wherever they've gone, and the races didn't fill or he didn't get in," Sciametta said.

When a similar race didn't fill at Belmont, Scat Daddy was on his way to Monmouth.

"He will run at Monmouth, as scheduled," said assistant Tristan Barry from Belmont. "We are not holding out any hope for a race at Belmont. Monmouth will be the spot for Johnny V to make his comeback."

Scat Daddy will race as an entry with Bella Shambrock.

Mysterious Boy chases third straight win

It was love at first replay for trainer Peter Walder with Mysterious Boy, the horse to beat Friday in the featured $38,000 allowance for 3-year-olds at one mile. The race has an optional claiming price of $40,000.

Walder was eyeing another horse for a possible claim when he caught a replay of Mysterious Boy at Calder.

"I fell in love with him," Walder said. "I told my owners, 'We've got to have him.' I loved the way he moved on the replays."

Walder claimed Mysterious Boy for $40,000 on Dec. 15 for Elaine J. Meltzer and Martin B. Miller. Mysterious Boy ran three times for Walder at Gulfstream Park, the first coming on the turf for a $65,000 tag. He wound up wide and tired to finish fifth, an effort Walder calls a "waste of time."

Walder added blinkers after that race and switched Mysterious Boy back to the main track. The result: consecutive wins as a $50,000 claimer at one mile, including an 11-length romp with Velazquez aboard.

"Johnny was just a pilot for that one," Walder said.

The second victory was only by three-quarters of a length, and Walder said Velazquez played a major role.

"The horse got passed at the eighth pole and came back on to win," Walder said. "It was one of the better rides I've ever gotten."

Joe Bravo, Monmouth's leading rider, gets the mount Friday.

Mysterious Boy earned Beyer Speed Figures of 80 and 73 in the two wins, numbers that make him very tough in this spot.

"If he translates his form from Gulfstream to here, we should be okay," Walder said.

Confront has never run beyond six furlongs, but owns the most extensive stakes experience. He was second in the Tyro and third in the Grade 3 Sapling here last summer.