12/26/2005 12:00AM

Carminooch one to beat


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Following a nine-day holiday break, racing resumes at Aqueduct Wednesday with a juicy pick-six carryover of $187,730 and a competitive renewal of the $75,000 Alex M. Robb Handicap for New York-breds.

Though favorites have been winning at a 32 percent clip since the inner track opened on Nov. 30, there has been a pick-six carryover after eight of the first 14 cards. The carryover entering Wednesday's card is the largest of the winter.

One key to hitting the wager on Wednesday is deciphering the Robb, a 1 1/16-mile race that drew a field of 11. , a 3-year-old son of Tomorrows Cat who beat five of these rivals when he won the Gander Stakes by seven lengths on Nov. 30, will likely go off favored for Eclipse Award-winning connections Todd Pletcher and John Velazquez.

Carminooch, owned by a group that includes Soprano's actor Tony Sirico, has run well in all four of his dirt starts this year. The Gander was his only win, but Carminooch finished second to Naughty New Yorker in the Albany at Saratoga after stumbling at the start and was third behind Spite the Devil in the Empire Classic in the slop at Belmont in October. His lone poor race this year was a failed turf experiment.

"I thought all of his races have been very solid," Pletcher said. "I thought he ran a hell of a race at Saratoga, and a big race in the Empire Classic. We hope to end the year on a good note."

The horse Carminooch must fear most in the Robb is Gold and Roses, another 3-year-old, who has had a solid season for trainer Tom Bush. Carminooch finished nine lengths ahead of Gold and Roses in the Albany, but Gold and Roses dueled through hot fractions that day.

Gold and Roses has put in two excellent efforts since that race, finishing second to Ohio Derby winner Palladio in the Ontario Derby at Woodbine and second to Spanish Mission in the listed Go for Gin Stakes here on Dec. 4.

In the Ontario Derby, Gold and Roses inherited the lead too soon when the pacesetter abruptly stopped, Bush said, adding that Gold and Roses came back on Palladio after that rival went past him. "It might have been the best race he ever ran," Bush said.

Gold and Roses, who breaks from post 8 under Eibar Coa, carries 117 pounds in the Robb, the fewest he has carried all year.

Naughty New Yorker, Spite the Devil, and Lord Langfuhr are all stakes winners seeking to rebound from disappointing efforts in the Gander.