05/07/2008 12:00AM

Angliana preps for Brooklyn


ELMONT, N.Y. - Stakes winners Angliana and Hunting square off in a $68,000 conditioned allowance race that serves as the featured event on Friday's nine-race card at Belmont Park.

Angliana, who won the Aqueduct Handicap, makes his first start for Steve Sigler's Winning Move Stable and trainer Gary Contessa in this 1 1/16-mile route that goes as race 3. Winning Move purchased Angliana from trainer Kiaran McLaughlin following the 6-year-old's third-place finish in the Grade 3 Excelsior Handicap last month at Aqueduct. Angliana is cross-entered in Saturday's Brandywine Stakes at Delaware, but Sigler said the plan is to run here.

Sigler also said that he's hoping to use this race as a stepping-stone to the Brooklyn Handicap on June 6. This year's Brooklyn will be run at 1 1/2 miles, the distance of the newly created Breeders' Cup Marathon in October.

"I think he's peaking right now," Sigler said. "We know he's been well taken care of coming from Kiaran. We know if we buy something from Kiaran, it's a win-win for both. We think he could be a fit going a mile and a half."

Angliana has been successful at 1 1/16 miles with 4 wins and 3 seconds from 8 starts. The Aqueduct Handicap was at 1o1/16 miles, albeit around two turns on the inner track. Rain is in the forecast, and Angliana has finished second in his only two starts over a wet surface.

Angliana, who spots five pounds to the field, breaks from post 2 under Rajiv Maragh.

Hunting, who won the Grade 3 Stuyvesant last November, will be making his second start this year. In his 5-year-old debut, Hunting finished third behind Gottcha Gold in the Grade 3 Skip Away Handicap at Gulfstream.

"I thought he ran fine," trainer Shug McGaughey said. "He got pretty far out of it, but he finished well and the track was speed-favoring that day."

McGaughey said a wet track "would be a plus" for Hunting.

Digger and Saint Daimon look like they could set a pretty strong pace. Digger outsprinted Daaher for the early lead in last October's Jerome over the main track. Saint Daimon got used up in a duel in last week's Westchester Handicap.

Park Avenue Prince completes the field.

* Contessa and Winning Move square off against McGaughey in a third-level allowance sprint for fillies and mares that goes as race 8. The Contessa-trained Tight Storm, a good-looking winner of a second-level allowance race on March 27, takes on McGaughey's horse Five Star Daydream, a stakes winner over this course as a 2-year-old.