01/28/2005 12:00AM

Aggadan best - but delay helps others

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Aggadan will carry top weight of 123 pounds in Sunday's Aqueduct Handicap.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. believes the postponement to Sunday of the $100,000 Aqueduct Handicap helps the opposition more than it does his Aggadan. But since Dutrow believes Aggadan is the best horse in this Grade 3 race, he's hoping that's all that matters.

The same eight horses that were originally entered for the Aqueduct Handicap were entered back for Sunday. The race was originally scheduled to be run on Jan. 22, but was postponed when a blizzard hit the metropolitan area. Three of Aggadan's seven rivals were coming back on less than three weeks rest, including Tales of Glory, who was coming back just 16 days after running a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 103.

"A bunch of them were coming back way too quick," Dutrow said. "The timing helps them more than us."

did a little better when post positions were re-drawn, moving from post 8 to post 6. But he still has to carry the same 123 pounds he was assigned last week, meaning he'll spot the field from 7 to 12 pounds.

Aggadan has never won a graded stakes, but did finish second to recently crowned Horse of the Year Ghostzapper in the Tom Fool Handicap last July. Aggadan has won three of his last four starts, including the Challedon Stakes and the Jennings Handicap - both against Maryland-breds - at Pimlico.

"While I'm concerned with the weight he has to carry, Aggadan is probably better than most of the other horses in the race," said Dutrow, who has named Rafael Bejarano to ride.

may be helped by the additional eight days, but he was compromised at the draw, moving from the rail to post 8. It is expected that rider Stewart Elliott will hustle Tales of Glory away from the gate. Tales of Glory has won his last two races on the inner track.

Elliott will have to avoid dueling with Rogue Agent, a speed horse who will break from post 4. Rogue Agent is coming off a solid second behind Lord Langfuhr in the Alex M. Robb Handicap on Dec. 31. Lord Langfuhr, who has won each of his last three starts, is also back in here with Norberto Arroyo Jr., replacing regular rider Jorge Chavez.

is winless in 14 starts dating back to his victory in the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby in March 2003. He has finished second in each of his last six starts. He has been transferred to Dominick Schettino after previous trainer Greg Martin was ruled off due to his alleged involvement in the milkshaking of another horse.

Region of Merit could work out a good stalking trip under Mike Luzzi. New York Hero, Country Be Gold, and Mahzouz complete the field.