11/15/2007 1:00AM

Barcola out to wire Stuyvesant

EmailOZONE PARK, N.Y. - Barcola and Awfully Smart have remarkably similar profiles heading into their rematch Saturday in the Grade 3, $100,000 Stuyvesant Handicap at Aqueduct.

Both 4-year-olds have won 3 of their last 4 races, with the three victories coming at Delaware Park. The lone loss for both in that stretch came in New Jersey. Barcola ran eighth in the Philip Iselin Handicap at Monmouth Park while Awfully Smart was fourth in the Meadowlands Cup.

The similarities extend to running styles: both prefer the lead. That should ensure a lively pace for the 1 1/8 mile Stuyvesant.

They met on July 14 in the R.R.M. Carpenter Memorial at Delaware, and Barcola got the early jump and rolled to a one-length win as Awfully Smart finished third.

That strong early foot by Barcola again could be decisive in the rematch.

"I don't know if they can beat Barcola," said Alan Goldberg, Awfully Smart's trainer. "That horse seems comfortable out there on the lead. I don't think we can get the lead from that horse."

Rajiv Maragh will ride Awfully Smart, who has put together a solid year with 5 wins in 8 starts after being gelded in the off season.

Barcola has also enjoyed a banner campaign with 4 wins in 9 starts since joining the Mark Hennig Stable this year.

"He has unharnessed speed," Hennig said. "You can't really rate him too much."

Kendrick Carmouche, aboard Barcola for the last four races, has the return call. "He's done a good job," Hennig said. "He seems to understand the horse. I don't know if I ever used him before the races in Delaware, but he gets along with the horse really well."

Hennig views the Stuyvesant as an important challenge for Barcola. After three dominant wins in Delaware, Barcola must show he can handle stakes company at another track.

"He got better at Delaware, but he's got to show us that he can do it outside of there," Hennig said.

Also in the field are Evening Attire, a 9-year-old who won the 2005 Stuyvesant; Naughty New Yorker, a stablemate of Evening Attire in the Pat Kelly barn; Utopia, 7, who has banked $4.8 million in an international career that includes major wins in his native Japan and in the Godolphin Mile at Nad Al Sheba; and Malibu Moonshine, Hunting, and Who What Win.