04/11/2005 11:00PM

Bright Mahogany unknown quantity


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - The list of probables for Saturday's $150,000 Comely Stakes at Aqueduct does not read like a who's who of the 3-year-old filly division. That's good news for the connections of Bright Mahogany, a filly whose name probably elicits the response, "Who's that?'" from most handicappers.

Bright Mahogany, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Bright Launch, has raced exclusively in Puerto Rico, where she won Group 1 races at 2 and 3 at El Comandante Race Course. Owner Ruben Valdes shipped her to Gary Contessa at Aqueduct, and the Grade 3 Comely should give both horsemen an idea of where their filly fits. Bright Mahogany has three wins and two seconds from five starts.

"They bought this filly out of one of the Ocala sales, took her to Puerto Rico, and she's just won everything," Contessa said. "She's really a good-looking filly, she does everything right, and she's been training forwardly."

Bright Mahogany has breezed twice at Aqueduct, most recently last Saturday, when she worked four furlongs in 51.47 seconds.

"I have no numbers to go by, and I don't know if she fits or not," Contessa said. "I'm not sure Ruben does, either. It's a logical place to go. If she was a New York filly she would deserve, off her paper, a shot in the Comely, unquestionably. So, we'll go to the Comely and we'll let her tell us from there."

Contessa has trained other horses for Valdes, most recently a horse named One Mean Cat, who won two races in New York.

A field of seven is likely for the one-mile Comely, including Dixie Talking and Acey Deucey, one-two in the Cicada, as well as Last Toots, Quite a Ruckus, Secrets Galore, and Toll Taker. Winning Season is possible.

Sunday, Acey Deucey worked a strong half-mile in 47.80 seconds over Belmont Park's training track, while Quite a Ruckus went the same distance in a bullet 47.67 over the main track. Monday, Toll Taker worked four furlongs in 47.11 over the main track.

Funny Cide honored after returning home

Funny Cide arrived at his Belmont Park barn Monday afternoon from south Florida, and several hours later was crowned New York-bred horse of the year for the second straight year by the New York Thoroughbred Breeders. Funny Cide, who won the Jockey Club Gold Cup and Excelsior Breeders' Cup in 2004, was the NYTB's horse of the year in 2003 when he won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.

Funny Cide has not raced this year, but has been training regularly for about six weeks. His connections are looking to run him in the Kings Point Handicap against New York-breds at Aqueduct on May 1 as a prep for the Grade 1 Pimlico Special on May 20.

"The first race is really just a work - that's all we're using it for," said Robin Smullen, the assistant to trainer Barclay Tagg and the exercise rider for Funny Cide.

Funny Cide jogged at Belmont on Tuesday, was scheduled to gallop on Wednesday, and could have a workout either Thursday or Friday, Smullen said.

In addition to winning horse of the year from the NYTB, Funny Cide was named champion older male. Funny Cide is owned by the Sackatoga Stable.

Friends Lake, owned by Chester and Mary Broman, and Commentator, owned by Tracy Farmer, shared the award for 3-year-old male, while Capeside Lady, owned by So MADCAPT Stable, and Sugar Punch, owned by IEAH Stables, Joe Torre, and Michael Devlin, shared the honor for 3-year-old female.

Quantum Merit, owned by Very Un Stable and Joseph Gioia, was crowned champion turf male while Sabellina, owned by Jay Lieberman, was crowned champion turf female. Well Fancied, the champion older male of 2003, was voted champion sprinter of 2004. He is owned by Sanford Goldfarb and Stewart Hoffman.

Galloping Grocer, owned by Robert Rosenthal and Bernice Waldbaum, was voted champion 2-year-old male, and Megascape, owned by Robert Beck, was the champion 2-year-old female.

Board Elligible, owned by Rudina Stable, was named champion older female. Almost There was named champion steeplechaser.

Richard Migliore, who rode Quantum Merit, Friends Lake, and Sabellina, was named NYTB jockey of the year, while Gary Contessa was recognized as New York-bred trainer of the year. The Bromans were honored as NYTB breeders of the year.

Society Selection resumes training

Society Selection, winner of three Grade 1 races, has recently resumed training after undergoing surgery to clean out an infection in her left hind leg, trainer Allen Jerkens said.

Jerkens said Society Selection banged her leg when she finished last in the Shirley Jones Handicap at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 19. Jerkens said the injury didn't look like much at the time, but the leg developed swelling and she was sent to Dr. Larry Bramlage at the Rood and Riddle Clinic in Kentucky for surgery.

Jerkens said Society Selection began galloping last weekend and would likely be aimed at a return sometime during the Belmont spring meet.

"She's fine now," Jerkens said. "She's a long way from being fit."

Society Selection should be ready for Saratoga, where last summer she won the seven-furlong Test and the 10-furlong Alabama.

Fortunate Storm heads feature

For the second straight card, a weak entry-level allowance race is the feature at Aqueduct. For the second straight day, trainer Rick Violette has the horse to beat.

Violette sends out Fortunate Storm in this one-mile allowance for 3-year-old and up males. Fortunate Storm won his maiden by 4 1/2 lengths at one mile when returning to Aqueduct's main track. Though he was competitive in two of his three inner-track starts, Violette doesn't believe Fortunate Storm cared for that surface.

"Maybe he wasn't that thrilled with the inner track, but he ran well enough to be competitive,'' Violette said. "He should be tough in there. That one-turn mile he seemed to love.''

Fortunate Storm looms the controlling speed under Shaun Bridgmohan. Trainer Allen Jerkens wheels back Looking Best on six days' rest after he finished a well-beaten fourth here on April 8. He spent the winter knocking heads with potential Kentucky Derby starters Flower Alley and Noble Causeway.

Maddy's Lion points for stakes at Pimlico

After getting in a satisfactory workout on Monday, Jimmy Winkfield Stakes winner Maddy's Lion will be pointed to the $100,000 Maryland Stallion Station Stakes at Pimlico on April 23. The six-furlong race is restricted to Maryland-breds.

Sunday, Maddy's Lion was credited with a four-furlong work in 50.84 seconds, but trainer John Pregman said that move wasn't intended to be a work. Monday, working in company, Maddy's Lion zipped four furlongs in 47.07 seconds over the Belmont main track.

Maddy's Lion is coming off a disappointing eighth-place finish in the Gotham on March 19.

"We had to rush to get to that race; it wasn't the best scenario,'' said Pregman, whose horse missed some training time due to illness. "I think this will be a good spot for him - sprint him a little bit more and hopefully, down the road, we can stretch him out.''

Daydreaming targets Shuvee

Daydreaming breezed three furlongs in 36.06 seconds on Sunday at Belmont as she begins preparations for the Shuvee Handicap at Belmont on May 20. Daydreaming, trained by Shug McGaughey, won the Next Move Handicap on March 25.

McGaughey said that last year's Laurel Futurity winner, Defer, who flopped in a pair of stakes at Gulfstream, returned to Belmont on Sunday and will likely be pointed to a race soon after that meet begins on May 4.