03/20/2004 12:00AM

Weaver makes right move

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Saratoga County wins the Gotham after skipping last week's Swale.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - George Weaver said he agonized over his decision to scratch Saratoga County out of the March 13 Swale Stakes at Gulfstream Park. It was just a six-horse field, he had Jerry Bailey, and the horse didn't have to leave Florida.

All along, however, Weaver felt the Grade 3 run Saturday at Aqueduct was the better spot for Saratoga County. In the end, Weaver was right.

Saratoga County, who stalked the early pace under Javier Castellano, tipped three wide for the stretch drive and persevered past Pomeroy and a fierce headwind to win Saturday's $200,000 Gotham by 2 1/4 lengths. Pomeroy, who was part of a torrid early pace, held second by three-quarters of a length over Eddington.

Saratoga County was hindered by a terrible trip in the Hutcheson, in which he managed to get third behind Limestone. Saturday, he broke cleanly, settled in fifth position while Pomeroy dueled Deputy Storm through wind-aided fractions of 21.88 seconds, 43.67, and 1:08.03. Castellano had a handful of horse at the quarter pole. All he needed was room, which he got in upper stretch. Saratoga County ($11.40) covered the mile in 1:35.53 over a good track.

"He was sitting in the garden spot with a fast pace in front of him," said Weaver, who trains Saratoga County for Evelyn Pollard. "I'm glad it set up for us and we were in the right spot and I'm damn glad I scratched out of the Swale. I have to admit I was a little undecided, but I went with my gut feeling and it worked out."

Weaver said he didn't view Saratoga County as a Kentucky Derby horse, and would run him in the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on April 17.

Eddington, making his stakes debut, was slammed at the start as Pomeroy broke into War's Prospect, who hit Eddington. Jockey Edgar Prado also felt Eddington didn't handle the track.

"He was making a nice, steady move all the way around the turn, but when I turned him loose he kind of lost his footing," Prado said

Trainer Mark Hennig said Eddington would most likely run back in the Wood on April 10.

Cicada: Bohemian Lady romps

A perfect trip and the scratch of the undefeated Among My Souvenirs helped Bohemian Lady become a graded stakes winner.

After stalking the pacesetting She's a Mugs through a quick half-mile run in 44.67 seconds, Bohemian Lady took charge at the top of the stretch and rolled to a 6 1/2-length victory over even-money favorite Whoopi Cat in the Grade 3, $109,100 . Baldomera got up for third by a neck over Whirlwind Chariot. Freeroll and She's a Mugs completed the order of finish.

Among My Souvenirs, who beat Bohemian Lady in the Dearly Precious, was scratched out of the Cicada due to a bruised foot.

Bohemian Lady stumbled at the start of the Dearly Precious. Saturday, she broke alertly under Edgar Prado and was the easiest of winners. Bohemian Lady, a daughter of Carson City owned by Padua Stables and trained by Todd Pletcher, covered the seven furlongs in 1:23.22 over a good track. She returned $5.10 as the second choice. Bohemian Lady, a daughter of Carson City, has now won 3 of 4 starts.

"The last time she stumbled and had to rush up,'' said Seth Benzel, assistant to Pletcher. "Today, she broke pretty well. Edgar was able to get her into a stalking position. It looked like he had plenty of horse. When he asked her, she really kicked home.''

Whoopi Cat, who won the Grade 2 Adirondack last year, returned to New York after two poor efforts in graded stakes in California. She ran respectably, but was no match for the winner.