12/27/2008 1:00AM

Afleet Angel an oldie but goodie


At an age when most mares have already been sent to the breeding shed, Afleet Angel is hitting her peak.

The 8-year-old Afleet Angel, a two-time stakes winner while racing on synthetic surfaces out of town, returns to her home track of Mountaineer Racetrack for Tuesday night’s $75,000 New Year’s Eve Stakes.

The six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares drew a full field of 12, with four more on the also-eligible list.

A 13-time winner in 41 starts, Afleet Angel has gone 4 for 8 this season, including the first two stakes victories of trainer Paula Bacon’s career. Afleet Angel scored by a neck in the $100,000 HPBA over the Tapeta at Presque Isle Downs going a mile and 70 yards in September and cut back to six furlongs to rally from far back to take the Holiday Inaugural over Turfway Park’s Polytrack a month ago.

Afleet Angel’s last seven races have been on either synthetic or turf, but she does own a 3-for-10 record on Mountaineer’s dirt main track. She will have to run substantially faster than she did in her last two sprints locally, however, in order to beat the stiff competition she faces in the New Year’s Eve.

Her rivals include a pair of 3-year-old fillies who finished first and third last time out in an overnight stakes at Aqueduct.

A Rose for You, the winner that day, is riding a three-race winning streak and comes from the high-percentage barn of Mike Trombetta.

Honest to Betsy, beaten 1 1/2 lengths by A Rose for You, ships in from Kentucky for trainer Dale Romans. Although he is 0 for 4 at Mountaineer this season, Romans owns an admirable 4-for-11 record in stakes at the West Virginia track since 2003.

All Giving, a three-time stakes winner in Maryland this season, has prepped for this spot with a pair of four-furlong bullet workouts at the Bowie Training Center for trainer Flint Stites. He has been first or second with three of the four horses he has brought to Mountaineer this season.

Two other locally based horses who merit respect are the 3-year-old Royal Michele and 5-year-old mare Moonlight Dreamer. Royal Michele steps up to stakes company after winning her last two starts by a combined margin of nearly 18 lengths. Moonlight Dreamer also rises in class after winning 4 of her last 5 races.