02/27/2012 3:47PM

Aqueduct: Englehart has pair of contenders


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Chris Englehart has enjoyed another successful winter at Aqueduct to the point where, with five weeks remaining, he is in contention for leading trainer honors at the inner-track meet.

Entering Wednesday’s card, Englehart has 25 wins from 133 starters, placing him third behind Richard Dutrow Jr. (29 for 78) and David Jacobson (27 for 114).

Englehart, who is the 21st leading trainer of all time with 3,125 career victories, has two runners at Aqueduct on Wednesday’s nine-race program who both appear live in their respective races.

In the sixth, a $40,000 starter handicap, Englehart sends out the 7-year-old Budge Man against the Jacobson uncoupled entry of Midnite Silver and Winaholic.

Budge Man, who won twice for Englehart over the inner track last winter, is coming off a third-place finish in a starter allowance at Parx on Feb. 6.

“He had missed some training, just wasn’t 100 percent for that race,” said Englehart, who has the riding services of Ramon Dominguez on Wednesday. “He’s coming into this race better.”

Budge Man, who is spotting three to seven pounds to the field, is a late-runner who would benefit from a lively pace, and he may get it with Equivocation, Good Law, and Marquet Rebel in the field.

Midnite Silver had a five-race winning streak snapped on Feb. 15 when he lost a race similar to this by a head to Bail Out the Banks. Two starts back, Midnite Silver bested Winaholic by a nose. At 3 for 17, Winaholic has not lived up to his name.

Two races later, in the featured first-level allowance sprint for New York-bred 3-year-olds, Englehart sends out the speedy Hooked On Dance against four rivals. Hooked On Dance is a one-dimensional front-runner who looks to be the primary speed in this compact group. Last time out, he ran into Panthro, a heavy favorite trained by Stanley Hough, who beat Hooked On Dance by 5 3/4 lengths. Hooked On Dance lost second by a neck.

On Dec. 29, Hooked On Dance was well beaten by a slow-starting Bizarroworld (who was disqualified for interference). In that race, David Cohen attempted to rate Hooked On Dance, who resented those tactics.

“He didn’t like it – was a little green, a little scared,” Englehart said. “The horse runs better on the front end.”

Alan Garcia will ride Hooked On Dance from post 4.

Bizarroworld has not broken well in his last two starts, but could be a nuisance to Hooked On Dance if he breaks alertly on Wednesday from post 2 under Ryan Curatolo.

Mark It Man will make his first start off the claim for Bruce Brown. Silent Thunder and Cat Paws complete the field.