02/06/2012 3:43PM

Aqueduct: Colossal Gift gets shot at winners; $29,812 pick-six carryover awaits


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – The jump from beating maidens to facing winners for the first time is significant, especially for a horse that took 11 tries to win his first race.

But Colossal Gift meets a group of rather ordinary opponents when he seeks his second consecutive win in Wednesday’s featured first-level allowance race at Aqueduct. The two-turn mile race goes as the eighth on a nine-race program and is the fifth leg of a pick-six wager that begins the day with a $29,812 carryover.

While Colossal Gift did lose his first 10 races, they were all on turf or synthetic surfaces. Also, he did have six second-place finishes for then trainer Christophe Clement.

Sent to Mike Hushion for the winter, Colossal Gift made a triumphant dirt debut, rallying from a stalking position to win a mile and 70-yard race by 1 3/4 lengths as the even-money favorite.

“I thought it was a nice win,” Hushion said. “I think he fits in that race, but you never know maidens to winners.”

Hushion did have Colossal Gift entered a few weeks ago, but had to scratch when the horse came up with mucus in his system.

Ramon Dominguez, who rode Colossal Gift on Dec. 28, had a call with Chad Brown aboard Crushing for this spot. David Cohen will ride Colossal Gift.

Jockey Eddie Castro, sidelined since mid-October after fracturing a vertebra in a spill at Belmont, makes his return to the saddle aboard Small Town Talk in this spot. Small Town Talk has not run since finishing fifth in a first-level allowance race at Belmont in May. Trainer James Lawrence said Small Town Talk came out of that race with a chip in a knee.

Small Town Talk’s one win came over a sloppy track at Parx Racing. There is a slight chance of rain here Wednesday.

“He probably does prefer a wet-fast track,” Lawrence said. “More than anything, we need to get a race into him, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he won coming off a layoff.”

Steel Bridge, trained by Shug McGaughey, has not run since finishing fourth as the favorite in a five-horse field here Nov. 24. Star of New York is a five-time winner who makes his second start since being claimed by Richard Dutrow Jr. for $20,000 last December. Nacho Saint and Cribnote were second and third in a similar spot as this on Jan. 1.

Earlier on the card, Hushion brings the stakes-winning New York-bred Bold Deed back to the races off an eight-month layoff.

Bold Deed, who won a maiden race over the inner track last March and the Packett’s Landing Stakes over the main track in April, has not run since finishing second as the 4-5 favorite in a restricted turf stakes June. 5.

“He’s doing great,” Hushion said. “His last couple of works, he’s getting to look like his old self. He’s better going long, so I’m not sure about the three-quarter race, but we got to get him going.”

Bold Deed is part of what appears to be a quick early pace, which could set things up for Coaltown Legend.