04/18/2011 1:41PM

Aqueduct: Kissa Melissa in strong spot; scratches likely

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Kissa Melissa could get a perfect setup in Wednesday's eighth race at Aqueduct.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – It may be wise for handicappers to wait as late as possible before seriously handicapping Wednesday’s featured eighth race at Aqueduct, because the complexion of the six-furlong race is likely to change at scratch time.

As drawn, the optional claiming race has seven entrants – six of whom are in for the $50,000 claiming tag – and appears to have plenty of speed. But with three trainers having multiple entrants, the race could lose some of its significant pace players.

Trainer Mitch Friedman has the coupled entry of Kissa Melissa and Spina in the field, but indicated the speedy Spina is likely to scratch to run in a lower-level claiming race for which she is already entered Friday.

Trainer Bruce Brown has the returning Freud’s Notebook and Devilish Spirit in the field, but said Monday he is only committed to running Freud’s Notebook and may look for another spot for Devilish Spirit.

Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. has the uncoupled entry of Honor Hymn and Purrfect Bluff entered. Dutrow named Alex Solis to ride Purrfect Bluff, but Solis will not be here Wednesday, according to his agent, Mike Kelly.

If the race remains intact, it would seem to set up extremely well for Kissa Melissa, a late-running 6-year-old mare who is already 3 for 5 this year for Friedman and the Sunny Meadow Farm. Three starts back, she got up by a nose to win a similar race as this, edging Honor Hymn, who at the time was trained by Ramon Preciado.

While Kissa Melissa has excelled over the inner track, she has won over Aqueduct’s main track, in April 2009 over a sloppy track. There was a 60 percent chance of rain Tuesday and a 50 percent shot of isolated thunderstorms Wednesday.

“She runs on every surface, it doesn’t matter,” Friedman said. “She worked good the other day and she’s usually not a work horse.”

Kissa Melissa will be ridden by Ramon Dominguez, who is 7 for 13 on the mare.

Freud’s Notebook was a three-time winner in 2010 before tailing off by year’s end. Freud’s Notebook, who breaks from the rail, could be part of the pace.

“Six furlongs probably isn’t her best distance, but it’s a good spot to get her back in the swing of things,” Brown said. “I really like the way she’s coming up to it.”

Purrfect Bluff finished third in both the Interborough and Correction Stakes during the winter meet and comes off a win in this same condition on March 25. Unicorn Girl completes the field.

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