01/20/2005 12:00AM

Aggadan pays for success on scale


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Aggadan has yet to win a graded stakes, but his recent success against Maryland-breds has certainly earned the respect of NYRA racing secretary Mike Lakow.

Lakow assigned Aggadan top weight of 123 pounds for Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 , meaning Aggadan will be spotting his seven opponents 7 to 12 pounds in the 1 1/16-mile race. The last horse to win the Aqueduct Handicap carrying more than 121 pounds was Cannonade, who carried 126 pounds in 1973, when the race was restricted to 2-year-olds.

"I'm not happy about it, but there's not much I can do," said Richard Dutrow Jr., the trainer of Aggadan. "There's a couple of speeds that should help us, so I'm willing to take a shot."

Dutrow said he was hoping for an inside post so Aggadan could save ground, but Aggadan drew the outside post in the eight-horse field. Rafael Bejarano will ride.

One thing in Aggadan's favor is the likelihood of a solid pace. Tales of Glory and Rogue Agent, who drew posts 1 and 2, respectively, figure to duke it out on the front end. Region of Merit and New York Hero - who both are graded winners - also have speed.

Tales of Glory won his last two starts over the inner track, including a front-running score in the slop on Jan. 6. Seth Benzel, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher, acknowledged the potential of a speed duel, but he doesn't anticipate changing tactics. Stewart Elliott rides Tales of Glory at 115 pounds.

"Our horse has run well on the lead, including his last start, so we have to go out there with our game plan. We can't run everybody else's race," Benzel said.

Michael Brice, the trainer of Rogue Agent, said his horse will be on the lead and "whatever happens, happens." Rogue Agent carries 114 pounds under Norberto Arroyo Jr.

"My horse will be on the lead," Brice said. "It's up to them whether they want to go or they don't. I think we have a lot more turn of foot than they do. [Tales of Glory will] use himself up a lot more than we will."

Lord Langfuhr ran down Rogue Agent in the Alex M. Robb Handicap last out, his third consecutive win. Jorge Chavez comes up from Florida for the ride.