03/26/2010 11:35AM

Aqueduct: T-minus 19 races...


...to go at the inner-track meet that began last Dec. 2.

  With two days remaining, Todd Pletcher's 38-for-102 record (and $2.61 R.O.I. overall) gives him a two-win lead over perennial winter leader Gary Contessa, who is 36-for-229.

  Kind of ironic that Pletcher saddled about 900 horses more than Linda Rice at Saratoga last summer, but fell short by one for a share of the title. This winter, he's leading despite sending out less than half the starters Contessa has had. Jonathan Thomas, who has overseen Pletcher's local contingent, has done a heckuva job.

  Race 6 could be a pivotal one. Contessa saddles 9-5 favorite Conflicted, while Pletcher has 5-2 second choice Irving Rules.

  Pletcher's only other starter is La Vida Vino, who looks to go 4 for 4 at the meet in race 8.

  In addition to Conflicted, Contessa has runners in five other races, beginning with the entry of Lucy N Thunder and Straight A Student, currently the 7-5 choice with 25 minutes to first post.