03/20/2013 11:48AM

Aqueduct: New faces add intrigue to Friday's featured allowance

Barbara D. Livingston
Silverette will make her first start since June in Friday's featured allowance and figures to be on the lead under Rajiv Maragh.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Fresh faces are always a welcome sight at Aqueduct at this time of year, and there are two such animals entered in Friday’s quasi-featured second-level allowance for fillies and mares at six furlongs.

Silverette, who arrived this week from southern Florida, looms as the horse to catch and beat, while Chance Encounter appears to be the major off-the-pace threat in the $64,000 race, which also carries an optional-claiming clause of $62,500.

Silverette, a daughter of Street Sense, has not been out since June 6, when she won a first-level allowance race at Belmont Park by 2 1/4 lengths. But in subsequent training, she suffered a setback, according to trainer Dale Romans, and missed the remainder of her 3-year-old season.

Silverette has been working regularly at the Palm Meadows training center in southern Florida since late January, but Romans felt he found the right spot for her in New York.

“She’s a quality filly who was worth taking care of and getting her right,” Romans said. “We’re going to start shipping some that way, and that looked like a good spot, short field. I think she’s plenty fit.”

Silverette has been in front through the first half-mile in each of her first five starts and likely will be there again under Rajiv Maragh. Maragh will have to be mindful of Smoldering Beauty, who won an allowance race Feb. 10 in front-running fashion. Smoldering Beauty finished third behind Cluster of Stars just last week and would be running back on short rest.

Danny Gargan, the trainer of Chance Encounter, hopes Smoldering Beauty can keep Silverette honest. Chance Encounter was purchased privately by Gargan and fellow trainer Merrill Scherer but was shipped to Gargan in recent weeks.

Gargan, who recently went out on his own after working as an assistant to Nick Canani, was hoping to find a softer spot than this for Chance Encounter’s first start in three months, but he expects her to come with a late run. She gets blinkers for the first time in this spot.

“She worked well in blinkers twice,” said Gargan, who picked up the first win of his career with Drink With Pride on March 15. “I wanted it to be a little easier competition for her first start, but maybe I can get her into the starter handicaps later on. New faces seem to do well here.”

Centrique and Ann’s Smart Dancer complete the field.

Later on the card, Sweet Sway goes for her fourth consecutive victory in an optional claimer at six furlongs. Sweet Sway won here Sunday by a half-length over Keep Bustin, but Gustavo Rodriguez, filling in while his brother, Rudy, serves a suspension, said the filly would run right back.

“She looks fine; she’s happy, she’s eating good,” said Rodriguez, who also will send out debut winner Kilnockagain in the six-horse field.