03/24/2009 11:00PM

Carolyn's Cat back to race


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - You know spring has arrived when shippers from south Florida and Southern California help fill an overnight stakes on a Friday at Aqueduct.

Friday's $65,000 Missy's Mirage for fillies and mares at six furlongs features the return to the races of Grade 3 winner Carolyn's Cat, who wintered at the Palm Meadows training center in Florida, and the return to dirt of Moonshine Alice, who spent the last several months racing on the turf and synthetic surfaces of Southern California.

Talented New York-breds By the Light and Lights Off Annie add depth to the field, while longshot Are You Dreamin seeks a reversal of fortune for trainer Randi Persaud.

Carolyn's Cat won the Grade 3 Cicada Stakes over the inner track last March, then finished second to Zaftig in the Grade 2 Nassau County at Belmont on May 3. While Zaftig went on to win the Grade 1 Acorn, Carolyn's Cat went to the farm for a vacation.

"No real injury, they felt she needed a break because she'd been running all winter," said Art Magnuson, assistant to Kiaran McLaughlin, trainer of Carolyn's Cat.

Carolyn's Cat returned to the work tab in late December on the farm, and has breezed 11 times since then leading up to her return.

"She's had a pretty nice foundation under her before she came here," Magnuson said. "She's been training really well."

Carolyn's Cat, who will break from the rail, has a lot of early speed, which could be to her detriment in a field where Lights Off Annie and Moonshine Alice also look to have plenty of early lick. Lights Off Annie won the Broadway Stakes on March 1 in gate-to-wire fashion, her fourth straight win at six furlongs.

Moonshine Alice was entered in last Saturday's Grade 2 Distaff Handicap but was scratched because trainer Bobby Frankel said he felt the race "came up too tough."

Moonshine Alice has three seconds and a sixth from four starts since Frankel obtained the filly last spring. All those races came on turf or synthetics. Before that, Moonshine Alice had three wins and a second over the Tampa Bay Downs dirt track.

"I'm hoping she likes the dirt better," Frankel said.

By the Light is 5 for 7 at six furlongs and could be the biggest beneficiary of a pace battle. She comes off a fourth-place finish in the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie in which she found herself on the lead. Her better races have come when she's able to relax early. She will break from the outside post under Richard Migliore.