01/16/2013 1:24PM

Aqueduct: Peggy Jane looks to shake off rust in sprint for New York-breds

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OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Chad Brown hasn’t started a lot of horses over Aqueduct’s inner track this winter, but those he has run have performed extremely well.

Expect more of the same Friday when Peggy Jane returns from an 11-month layoff in a second-level optional $35,000 claiming race for New York-bred fillies and mares going six furlongs.

Peggy Jane, a daughter of Kafwain, recorded 2 wins and 2 seconds for trainer Steve Asmussen. Her two wins came sprinting over the inner track last winter, and in her last start on Feb. 12 she finished second behind Beautiful But Blue in a two-turn overnight stakes.

Off since then, Peggy Jane has been transferred to Brown by owner Barbara Banke, who races this filly under her Grace Stables banner. Peggy Jane has spent the past two months in Florida, but as a New York-bred who had prior success over the inner track, Peggy Jane was always pointed to returning at Aqueduct.

“I want to get her in a race before I evaluate her,” said Brown, who has 3 wins and 3 seconds from 8 starters over the inner track. “She’s a very good-looking horse, but it’s such a long layoff. So far in the morning, she looks good.”

Ramon Dominguez will ride Peggy Jane from post 4 in Friday’s race, which has a purse of $54,000.

A horse coming off an even longer layoff is Positive Pitch, who hasn’t started since May 2, 2010, when she finished fourth in the Park Avenue Division of the New York Stallion Stakes at Belmont.

Trainer Bruce Levine said that Positive Pitch came out of that May race with a chip in a knee that required surgery. Levine said the now 6-year-old mare needed to be stopped and started on once or twice in her comeback. She shows a steady of string of works for her return.

“She’s no world-beater in the morning and she’s not real big, not the filly you want to squeeze too much, just let her do what she wants to do,” said Levine, tied for third in the trainer standings with 9 wins from 30 starters. “She might need one.”

The horse to beat might be Cinematize, who bounced back from a clunker on Nov. 10 with a first-level allowance win here on Dec. 9 with blinkers added.

“The filly is approaching this race very good,” trainer Tony Dutrow said. “I hope the blinkers made her a better horse.”

Completing the field are Saltamontes, in for the optional claiming tag of $35,000, She’s Got Rules, and Sing Dixie Sing.

◗ Later on the card, My Favorite Two and Frosty Bay, both coming off a maiden win over the inner track, head a field of seven New York-bred 3-year-old fillies attempting to clear the first-level allowance hurdle at a mile and 70 yards.