01/12/2008 12:00AM

Aunt Henny on the comeback trail


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - After back-to-back victories as a 3-year-old in the Grade 3 Herecomesthebride Stakes at Gulfstream Park and the Virginia Oaks at Colonial Downs, Aunt Henny's career couldn't have looked any brighter. Who could possibly foresee that 18 months later Aunt Henny would still be seeking her next win when she starts against five rivals Monday in a $59,500 allowance at one mile on the turf at Gulfstream.

Aunt Henny has raced just four times since outgaming May Night to win the 2006 Virginia Oaks by a nose. Each of those starts came last year, beginning at Gulfstream with a fourth-place finish in the Grade 3 Honey Fox Handicap and a second in the Magna Distaff. After that she ran fifth in the Grade 3 Gallorette at Pimlico in May and sixth in the Grade 3 Mint Julep at Churchill Downs in June.

Trainer Michael Matz said Aunt Henny has been slowed by an entrapped epiglottis and problems with her feet and ankles.

"She's had all sort of problems since the Virginia Oaks," said Matz. "Nothing serious, but one thing after another that has kept her from running very much."

Aunt Henny has trained well for her latest comeback with a series of works over the Palm Meadows turf course dating back to Nov. 30.

"She's been training fine, so we'll just have to see how she comes back in this race," said Matz. "Her best races have come at longer distances, but a mile should be fine. I was just lucky to get the race to go rather than have to start her back in a stakes."

Like Aunt Henny, the others in the field are returning to allowance company looking to get back on the winning track after being outrun in stakes.

La Dolce Vita has faced Grade 2 or Grade 3 opposition in each of her last five starts. Now 6, La Dolce Vita will be seeking her first victory since capturing Calder's Hollywood Wildcat Breeders' Cup Stakes last April. She is also a horse for the Gulfstream turf course, having registered 5 of her 6 wins over the strip, including the City of Hollywood Stakes in 2007.

The pace should be an honest one. Pretoria Light missed by a neck after contesting the fractions in Calder's Grade 3 Frances Genter Stakes to close out her 3-year-old campaign last year. Haddie Be Good will stretch out around two turns for the first time since the summer of 2006, while Le Cordon Bleu and Banda Victoria also figure to show their usual early speed going a mile.