01/03/2002 1:00AM

Will pace be hot enough for D'Coach?


JAMAICA, N.Y. - Shug McGaughey brought Saarland and Maybry's Boy, two extremely promising 3-year-olds, to Florida for the winter and left behind D'Coach to take care of business in New York.

Should D'Coach step up and win Saturday's $75,000-added Count Fleet Stakes at Aqueduct, McGaughey will have another good 3-year-old on his hands.

Ten 3-year-old colts and geldings entered the mile-and-70-yard Count Fleet.

The chief players are Iron Deputy, the four-length winner of the Huntington Stakes; Maryland shipper Saratoga Blues, undefeated in two starts going long; and D'Coach, a sharp second in his first two-turn race over the inner track.

D'Coach, a Dehere colt owned by Star Stable, won his debut sprinting at Aqueduct on Nov. 6. A month later, McGaughey ran him back in a first-level allowance and D'Coach made up a ton of ground in the stretch to finish second in the mile race on the inner track. The horse that beat D'Coach by one length, Soul of the Tiger, enjoyed an uncontested lead.

"[Soul of the Tiger] had it all his own way," Buzz Tenney, McGaughey's assistant, said. "We were about seven lengths behind at the eighth pole. He made up six lengths the last eighth of the mile."

Tenney said D'Coach, who will be at the back of the pack early, needs some pace up in front to aid his closing kick.

The only horse with serious speed looks like Saratoga Blues, who won his debut at 1 1/16 miles at Laurel by 11 3/4 lengths and came right back to win an allowance race here at the Count Fleet distance on Dec. 20 by 2 1/2 lengths.

"He had the look of a two-turn horse and it made no sense to sprint him," trainer Tony Dutrow said. "He has done what we have asked him pretty easily. If he can continues to improve, we'll see how good he is."

Iron Deputy is 2 for 3 sprinting for trainer Jimmy Jerkens, who said the Silver Deputy colt receives a good dose of stamina from his dam, Femme de Fer.

Iron Deputy worked six furlongs in 1:15.23, breezing, last Sunday over the inner track.

"I've been training him long," Jerkens said. "The work was good for him; he didn't get tired, but he was blowing hard."

Richard Migliore rides Iron Deputy, who should be close to the pace coming out of those sprints.

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