01/18/2005 12:00AM

Aggadan after graded win

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Scrappy T's Count Fleet win was highly impressive to the gelding's trainer, Robert Bailes.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Seeking an opportunity to make more money running against lesser competition, trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. thought last fall was the time to try running Aggadan in route races.

The experiment paid off as Aggadan registered a win and a second-place finish in two distance races against Maryland-bred competition. Now, Dutrow sees an opportunity to finally get Aggadan a graded-stakes win, which is why the 6-year-old will return to New York for Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 Aqueduct Handicap.

Last month, at Pimlico, Aggadan won the $100,000 Jennings Handicap at nine furlongs by a half-length. Two starts before that, Aggadan finished second behind Presidentialaffair in the Maryland Million Classic at 1 3/16 miles. In between, Aggadan won a six-furlong stakes for Maryland-breds.

"He was in with weaker company where the money was bigger than I could get in New York," Dutrow said. "He may even be better going longer now. It seems like he's okay."

Aggadan, who was twice second to Ghostzapper in graded sprint stakes, churned out $263,371 last year and has earned $680,301 for his career. Only one of his 30 career starts has come over the inner track - a classified allowance win in a two-turn, one-mile race on Feb. 14, 2003.

Dutrow said Rafael Bejarano, the inner track's leading rider, will get the mount on Aggadan, replacing Ariel Smith. Bejarano becomes the sixth consecutive different rider to get on Aggadan. Aggadan completed preparations for the Aqueduct on Monday by working five furlongs over the inner track in 1:03.01, the fastest of 12 works at the distance.

Aggadan was assigned top weight of 123 pounds for the Aqueduct. He will spot seven to 10 pounds to rivals that likely will include New York Hero (116 pounds), Snake Mountain (115), Tales of Glory (115), Country Be Gold (114), Lord Langfuhr (114), and Rogue Agent (114). Mr. Determined (113) and Region of Merit (113) are possible.

Bailes sees improvement in Scrappy T

More than simply winning Saturday's Count Fleet Stakes, Scrappy T impressed his trainer, Robert Bailes, in that the 3-year-old showed some maturity in the way he ran.

"I thought running through the stretch he had his mind on his business a little bit more," Bailes said Monday, two days after Scrappy T led gate to wire to win the Count Fleet by a length. "It was probably the first time he really wasn't waiting on horses that bad; he got down and was reaching out a little bit more."

Scrappy T, who has a record of 2-4-0 from six starts, earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 96 for his Count Fleet performance. Now he will be aimed at the $75,000 Whirlaway Stakes, where he is expected to run against Galloping Grocer, the talented New York-bred gelding who finished a good second behind Rockport Harbor in the Remsen in November.

"It wouldn't hurt my feelings to not see him in there," Bailes said. "But we mapped our plan out, which way we wanted to go, and we'll stick with it."

On Monday, Galloping Grocer worked four furlongs in 47.42 seconds, the fastest of 47 at the distance.

Bailes said he and owner Marshall Dowell have received a couple of offers for Scrappy T, but, he added, "right now we're planning on running him."

One horse Scrappy T may not have to worry about in the Whirlaway is Naughty New Yorker. Trainer Pat Kelly was noncommittal for Naughty New Yorker's next start, but said it was possible he could simply give the colt a break.

Kelly definitely will give Pelham Bay a break after she ran second behind Amazing Buy in Sunday's Busanda Stakes. The Busanda was Pelham Bay's third race in six weeks.

McLaughlin weighs options for Saintliness

Now that Saintliness is a stakes winner, her trainer, Kiaran McLaughlin, wants to make her a graded-stakes winner. When and where is something McLaughlin has not yet figured out.

Saintliness stayed undefeated in five starts when she won last Saturday's $81,275 Affectionately Handicap by three-quarters of a length. McLaughlin hinted after the race that Saintliness would head to south Florida, in part because the mare's owner-breeder, Frank Stronach, owns Gulfstream Park. Gulfstream hosts the Grade 3, $100,000 Sabin Handicap, a one-turn mile race on Feb. 26, and the Grade 2, $200,000 Rampart Handicap, a two-turn, 1 1/8-mile race on March 26.

Stronach also owns Laurel Park, which will host the Grade 2, $200,000 Barbara Fritchie Handicap on Feb. 19. The Fritchie is run at seven furlongs. McLaughlin called the Fritchie "a possibility."

"I'm going to look at all the options," said McLaughlin. "I haven't looked very close yet."