12/13/2009 12:00AM

Writingonthewall back from long layoff


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - By the time Aqueduct's ninth race rolls around Sunday, most involved in New York racing will be champing at the bit to get started on the upcoming 12-day break. Nobody's looking forward to Sunday's ninth race more than the connections of Writingonthewall, who are bringing the 4-year-old gelding back to the races off a 512-day layoff in the second-level allowance race for New York-breds going a mile and 70 yards.

Following Sunday's card, Aqueduct will be dark for live racing until Dec. 26. The facility will be open for simulcast wagering from Monday through Dec. 23.

Writingonthewall has not run since July 18, 2008, when, with blinkers added, he galloped to a six-length victory as the 3-5 favorite in a first-level allowance race for statebreds. Writingonthewall had to scratch from that August's Albany Handicap at Saratoga after being diagnosed with a soft-tissue injury that required a lengthy recuperative period.

According to trainer Carlos Martin, Writingonthewall returned to training about four months ago at Ocala Stud in Florida before rejoining Martin's Belmont Park barn 60 days ago.

"You never know till you run them, but he's training as well as he's ever trained," Martin said.

According to DRF's Formulator program, Martin is 9 for 26 over the last five years with horses returning from layoffs greater than 180 days in route races. In such instances, Martin is 2 for 4 over the inner track, including last January when First Commandment returned from a 301-day layoff to win this same race at this same distance.

"In a perfect world, you'd probably like to run him back six or seven furlongs, but he's got a good bottom under him and this is the race that went," Martin said. "They'll be galloping the first part of it, and sometimes those races are easier on a horse off a layoff as opposed to having to run every step of the way going six."

While Writingonthewall is returning from a layoff, Pretty Boy Freud is going to make one more start before getting a break, according to trainer Leo O'Brien. Pretty Boy Freud was beaten three-quarters of a length by Ruffino in the Cormorant division of the New York Stallion Stakes on Nov. 15. He added blinkers for that race, and they appeared to put a little more speed into him than he previously had shown.

O'Brien said Pretty Boy Freud has tender feet, which is why he plans to put him away following Sunday's race.