02/26/2003 12:00AM

Captain Red blazes, may try Toboggan

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OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Captain Red established an inner track record for six furlongs in Wednesday's eighth race at Aqueduct, defeating odds-on favorite Affirmed Success in the process.

Captain Red covered the distance in 1:07.93 over a fast track. The previous record of 1:08.40 was set by Whirling Blade on March 5, 1997.

Captain Red was a half-length winner over Gold I.D. It was another half-length back to Affirmed Success, the 3-5 favorite in the six-horse field, in third.

Affirmed Success, who was ridden by Richard Migliore, took a run at Captain Red from the rail with a little more than a sixteenth of a mile remaining.

Migliore said Affirmed Success was hesitant to go through the opening, so the rider eased out the favorite, who finished strongly between Captain Red and Gold I.D.

"I had room and I got there, but he started looking at [Captain Red]," said Migliore, who lost his whip right before the wire. "I'm the one who steadied."

Affirmed Success's trainer, Richard Schosberg, lodged an objection before seeing the head-on film and realizing the winner was not at fault. The stewards dismissed the claim.

Under apprentice John McKee, Captain Red controlled the pace in the $54,000 allowance race, while setting sizzling fractions of 22.57 seconds, 44.52, and 56.02.

Captain Red ($7.60) and Affirmed Success could meet again in the $100,000 Toboggan on March 15.

Say Florida Sandy ran a flat race and finished fifth, beaten 10 1/2 lengths by Captain Red.

Ontrack declines understandable

Compared with several other tracks around the country, the New York Racing Association tracks have been relatively lucky in terms of weather-related cancellations this year. There were no cancellations in January, although an abundance of foul weather meant there were seven consecutive racing days early in the year contested on wet tracks.

In February, there were two full-card cancellations, but one of those - the Presidents' Day program - was made up two days later. There also have been two partially canceled Sunday cards - one after the first race, the other after the fifth race.

John Giombarrese, NYRA's treasurer/controller, said daily average attendance was down 14 percent in January and ontrack wagering dipped five percent, compared with the same time period in 2001 when the weather was better.

Giombarrese anticipates similar declines for daily average attendance in February, and a bigger decline in ontrack wagering, compared with January.

On the positive side, Giombarrese said out-of-state wagering on NYRA races climbed 12 percent in January and will be in double digits again when February figures are calculated.

"That sort of, to a degree, offsets what we have been losing on track," Giombarrese said.

Strong stakes hands for Dutrows

The Brothers Dutrow will send out the headline names in Saturday's $75,000-added Busher Stakes.

Trainer Tony Dutrow will saddle Elegant Dancer, winner of the Great State Challenge Juvenile Fillies; and his brother, Richard Jr., will be represented by Cyber Secret, winner of the Busanda, in the 1 1/16-mile race.

The other 3-year-old fillies expected for the Busher are Bavarian Girl, Formal Dancer, Golden Damsel, and an entry for Paraneck Stable, Virgin Voyage and Xtra Heart.

Carnie's Dancer needs alert start

A second-level allowance race for older fillies and mares serves as Friday's feature. The six-furlong race drew a field of six.

Carnie's Dancer has a pair of second-place finishes at this level, and her connections hope the third time is the charm. She had troubled starts in her last two races and drew the rail for the third consecutive time.

In her last race, on Valentine's Day, Carnie's Dancer was beaten three-quarters of a length by the favored She's Got the Beat. Carnie's Dancer, who ducked in at the break, had a tough trip and was running well at the finish.

Trainer Scott Lake has named Mike Luzzi to ride Carnie's Dancer.

Election Star was cut back in distance in her last start and won a preliminary allowance race by two lengths on Jan. 18.

Richard Migliore rides Election Star from post 2.

* Norberto Arroyo Jr., riding for the first time since Dec. 29, finished eighth aboard Brocco Gold Strike in Wednesday's ninth race. Arroyo was released from a Long Island correctional facility on Feb. 13 after serving 39 days for second-degree assault, stemming from a pool hall brawl last June. Arroyo struck three men with a pool cue. One of the men required surgery to treat a brain hemorrhage.