11/13/2001 1:00AM

Williams News tries to save his year


JAMAICA, N.Y. - Two years after nearly winning the Red Smith Handicap, Williams News will give it another try on Saturday at Aqueduct. The Red Smith, the final turf stakes of the year in New York, is a Grade 2 race run at 12 furlongs and carries a purse of $150,000.

In the 1999 Red Smith, Williams News made the lead in midstretch only to pull himself up, according to his trainer, Tom Amoss. That allowed Monarch's Maze to get past him and win by a length. It's a race Amoss recalls well.

"Jerry Bailey rode him and it was Jerry's first and only time on him," Amoss said Tuesday from Kentucky. "He made the lead, and he's the type if he makes the lead too early he will pull himself up. We were two lengths in front inside the eighth pole and he pulled himself up."

The Red Smith typified the type of career Williams News has had: 10 second-place finishes, six wins. He owns victories in the Stars and Stripes Breeders' Cup Handicap and the Elkhorn Stakes, a pair of Grade 3 races. A victory Saturday would put the 6-year-old gelding over $1 million in earnings for the On Target Racing Stable of Emil, Nicole, and Rosalie Cerullo.

After a solid 2000 campaign and a victory in the Elkhorn in April, Amoss had high hopes for Williams News this year. But Williams News has lost his last four races, including the Canadian International, in which he finished 11th. Amoss believes that race wasn't as bad as it looks on paper.

Amoss enters Saturday's Red Smith more hopeful than confident, and said that a victory by Williams News would "salvage the year" for the horse.

"It would make for a good year rather than a mediocre year," he said.

A victory would also make for a nice birthday present for Amoss, who turns 40 on Saturday. He will mark the occasion with family and friends in his native New Orleans and will watch the race on television.

Edgar Prado will ride Williams News in the Red Smith. Prado has never ridden the horse, but has worked him. Williams News and last year's winner, Cetewayo, will each carry high weight of 117 pounds.

Also expected to run are: Gritty Sandie (116), Franbulo (115), Mr. Pleasentfar (115), Eltawaasul (114), Lodge Hill (114), Cetrantee (113), Just Listen (113), Man From Wicklow (113), Regal Dynasty (113), Serazzo (113), Esperence (112), and Berchtesgaden (109).

Patience pays off

Trainer John Kimmel had to wait three months longer than he had planned for Gone Musical's debut, but it was well worth the wait. Gone Musical, a 2-year-old New York-bred filly by Gone West, romped to a 7 1/4-length victory Monday at Aqueduct.

Her final time of 1:11.05 for six furlongs was significantly faster than that of Bridal Suite, a 3-year-old filly who won a preliminary allowance race in 1:11.97 the following race. Gone Musical had been entered at Saratoga, but developed a hairline crack to a cannonbone before the race, forcing Kimmel to stop on her.

Part of her recovery included three treatments of shock-wave therapy, which Kimmel said helped expedite the healing process. Kimmel said he would take his time with Gone Musical and probably won't run her again for six to eight weeks. He plans to ship her to his Payson Park barn in Florida, where she will do most of her training before shipping back to run in some of the 3-year-old filly stakes at Aqueduct during the winter and spring.

"I'm going to get her happy and doing right and send her back here when I'm ready to run her," Kimmel said. "I'm going to be doing that with a lot of my horses. I think she's got a big future. The fact she's a New York-bred certainly doesn't take away from her prospects. She can run against open company."

Cigar Mile field growing

Illusioned, winner of the Ack Ack Handicap at Churchill Downs last out, worked five furlongs in 1:02.60 Tuesday morning at Belmont Park in preparation for the $350,000 Cigar Mile on Nov. 24. There are at least 12 horses under consideration for the race, the last Grade 1 to be run in New York this year.

Several horses recently became possible starters for the Cigar Mile, including Scorpion, winner of the Grade 1 Jim Dandy at Saratoga; Ticket to Freedom, third in the Chief Pennekeck at The Meadowlands; and Voodoo, who returned from a layoff with a monster effort in an allowance race.

Probable starters are Affirmed Success, Best of the Rest, Figlio Mio, Graeme Hall, Illusioned, Left Bank, Peeping Tom, and Red Bullet. Volponi is possible.

Trainer Richard Schosberg said Edgar Prado would ride Affirmed Success in the race.