04/12/2007 11:00PM

Card threatened by storm


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - One day after the final seven races were scrapped due to wet track conditions, racing resumed as scheduled Friday at Aqueduct. But with plenty of rain in the forecast beginning Sunday and into next week, it is uncertain how many of the final 11 cards will be run on days when the track comes up sloppy.

One thing that is certain, however, is that management will continue to card races for the main track rather than move them back to the inner track, as some have suggested doing. Regardless of surface, Sunday's card is in jeopardy because of a nor'easter that could dump several inches of rain as well as bring high winds and flooding to the area Sunday morning.

John Passero, director of racing surfaces for the New York Racing Association, said he believes the main track is in fine condition, a stance he maintained Thursday even as the jockeys claimed there were washouts and uneven spots on the sloppy track. The track was rated good for Friday's nine races.

"If there were big issues we'd go to the inner track," Passero said. "There are no issues with that track. I'm going to stand on that. If I thought we should go to the inner track I would tell that to [NYRA president Charlie Hayward]."

Passero believes some jockeys may have "lost confidence in the main track" based on comments he made last fall when he used the word "deteriorate" to describe the clay-based surface.

Racing secretary P.J. Campo said the inner track is ready "just in case," but he doesn't foresee having to use it over the final two weeks.

"The main track is a great track," he said. "We need this main track. The answer is not moving back to the inner track."

Some trainers have suggested finishing the Aqueduct meet on the inner track.

"I think we should either go to the inner track for the next [11] days or go to the inner when the jocks are not happy with the main track," trainer Gary Contessa said. "But to just cancel racing is such a kick in the pants to the fans, the trainers, the owners, everybody."

Richard Dutrow Jr. said he would oppose moving the remainder of the meet to the inner track.

"No way," Dutrow said. "I'll find another spot for my horses. I backed off the inner track a month before they stopped. This is where I'm running my horses. I don't see that it's an unsafe track, but it's not like it was before. These guys keep [messing] with it."

Magnolia Jackson seeks repeat

Despite coming off a disappointing performance in the Distaff Breeders' Cup Handicap last month, Magnolia Jackson will run in next Saturday's Grade 2, $150,000 Bed o' Roses Breeders' Cup Handicap, a race she won last year.

Magnolia Jackson, a 5-year-old New York-bred daughter of Cape Canaveral, had won 3 of 4 stakes tries since returning from a lengthy layoff. In the Distaff, trainer Gary Contessa told jockey Ramon Dominguez that there was so much speed in the race he probably would be coming from off the pace. But when Magnolia Jackson broke sharply, Contessa was hoping that Dominguez would adjust to the situation and keep her on the pace.

For the Bed o' Roses, Contessa will use Alan Garcia, who guided Magnolia Jackson to a front-running victory in the Correction Handicap.

"I think Dominguez did what he thought was the right thing in the last race, but I think he used poor judgment," Contessa said. "She broke a length in front of the field. When that happens and you're on a stakes horse, you go. You forget about what we thought was going to happen; you got the lead you take it."

Magnolia Jackson worked five furlongs in 1:00 April 7 over the main track and was scheduled to breeze again over the weekend.

The Bed o' Roses field is expected to include Any Limit, Carmandia, Livermore Valley, Magnolia Jackson and Trendy Lady.

Dominguez wins five

Dominguez made all of the right moves Friday as he won five races on the card, the second time he has accomplished that feat on this circuit this year.

Dominguez, who rode eight horses on the day, won the opener with Starship Cruiser ($2.90), the fifth with Fly So Far ($4.60) and then swept the final three races with Altesse ($3.40), Waytotheleft ($6.90) and Pastel Gal ($7.80).

Dominguez, who has 14 winners through the first eight days of racing over the main track, also won five races over the inner track on Jan. 19. He won four races over the inner on March 2.

* Five of the nine winners Friday were favorites. Since the main track opened, favorites are 25 for 58, or 43 percent.