02/06/2013 5:07PM

Aqueduct: Centrique looking sharp for Parisella in feature

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Tom Keyser
Coming off a layoff, Coco Ecolo shows a sharp five-furlong workout from the gate on Jan. 28.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Trainer John Parisella returned to New York from south Florida early Wednesday morning and headed right to his barn at Belmont Park.

A little jet-lagged, Parisella perked up at the sight of his two fabulous 4-year-old fillies, Sunny Desert and Centrique. Combined, Sunny Desert and Centrique have won 11 of their last 12 starts.

Centrique looks to keep the good times rolling Friday at Aqueduct when she heads a field of six entered in the $69,000 allowance feature going a mile.

Since being claimed by Parisella on behalf of William Ango’s WAJA Racing Stable for $25,000 on March 12, 2012, Centrique has won 7 of 12 starts and earned $167,480.

She had been running very well in one-turn races before Parisella tried her around two turns in a starter handicap on Jan. 10, where she won by a dominating 6 1/4 lengths.

With Ramon Dominguez sidelined, Parisella has tabbed five-pound apprentice Jose Ortiz, the second-leading jockey at the meet, to ride Centrique. In doing so, Centrique gets in with 115 pounds, nine fewer than she carried in her last start when she spotted the second-place finisher, Floating Alone, eight pounds. Floating Alone is back in this field and must spot Centrique three pounds.

“Nine pounds is somewhat significant,” Parisella said. “She’s fast, she’ll be able to do whatever it takes.”

Coco Ecolo returns from a 231-day layoff for Kelly Breen, who last week won an allowance with Ruler On Ice off a 124-day layoff.

Coco Ecolo was coming off three consecutive runner-up finishes and has run second 6 times in 16 career starts.

“She’s physically doing well, another horse coming off a little bit of a layoff. Her fitness is a question mark,” Breen said. “The race didn’t come up a big field, but it came up a strong field. Hopefully, she’s fit enough. She has a little bit of a case of seconditis.”

Coco Ecolo shows a sharp five-furlong workout from the gate on Jan. 28.

“She’s a little finicky about the gate. Sometimes she doesn’t want to go in, but once she does she comes out running,” Breen said.

Hard Life, fourth at this level for Richard Dutrow Jr. in her last start, now goes out for Bruce Levine, whose recent hot streak has propelled him to the top of the trainer standings along with Rudy Rodriguez (19 wins apiece).

Royal Lahaina, another former Dutrow Jr. trainee, makes her first start for Rodriguez and is coming off a six-length victory over the inner track last December.

Lead Me On, a filly coming off a sprint victory in the slop last out, completes the field.

Sunny Desert eyes Pentelis

Parisella arrived back in New York in time to watch Sunny Desert put in a five-furlong workout in 1:01.53 Wednesday morning over the Belmont training track. She got her last quarter in 24.21 seconds.

Sunny Desert, a New York-bred daughter of Wild Desert, has won six consecutive starts dating back to last March 25. Most recently, she won the Cat Cay Stakes by one length over Moon Philly, who came back to win the Nellie Morse Stakes at Laurel Park on Jan. 26.

Parisella said he is looking to run Sunny Desert in the Pentelis Stakes here on Feb. 22.