02/17/2006 1:00AM

'Big Apple' goes for stakes


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Despite Big Apple Daddy's solid record over Aqueduct's inner track, trainer Bruce Levine says he can't wait to get him onto the outer track or even to Belmont.

Still, Sunday's $65,000 Hollie Hughes Stakes for statebred sprinters is too good of an opportunity to pass up getting his first stakes win. Big Apple Daddy, who is 2 for 4 over the inner track, faces six rivals in the six-furlong Hollie Hughes.

Levine's concerns regarding the inner track stem from a belief that the track has favored speed since last Sunday's snowstorm and that Big Apple Daddy is most effective coming from off the pace. Levine said he felt that jockey Orlando Mojica had to ask Big Apple Daddy earlier than he wanted when running down Precise Motion to win an open company allowance race on Jan. 7, a day the track was very speed oriented.

"He got taken out of his game last time," said Levine, who took the blinkers off Big Apple Daddy for his last start. "The jock had to chase the loose on the lead horse. That horse kicked in real well turning for home, and I didn't think we were going to get there. It was a good race to run against the bias."

There appears to be ample speed in this race to set things up nicely for Big Apple Daddy, who breaks from post 3.

Trainer Mike Hushion has won the last three runnings of the Hollie Hughes with Papua and has won four editions of this race since 1998. Sunday, Hushion will send out Casper Peterson, who has won two straight races, including a two-length victory over Big Apple Daddy last fall over Aqueduct's main track.

Hushion said that Casper Peterson had some ankle problems that plagued him last summer, but "I'm pretty confident they're behind him."

Casper Peterson drew the outside post in the seven-horse field, and jockey Pablo Fragoso will have to avoid getting involved in a speed duel with either Introspect or Melodeeman.

, who finished a half-length apart when Oz won an allowance race last Nov. 5, are also contenders in here. Oz, a lightly raced 5-year-old gelding, shows a series of steady works since finishing fourth behind Crafty Player in an open company allowance race on Jan. 21.

Bold Decision has raced on the pace in his last two starts, but won last June's Say Florida Sandy from off the pace. Bold Decision gets a rider switch to Mike Luzzi.