04/21/2005 12:00AM

Cativa returns to face Bank Audit


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - By now, one would suspect life would be getting tougher in the filly and mare handicap division in New York. But while we are well into spring, Saturday's $150,000 Bed o' Roses Handicap certainly has a strong taste of winter to it.

Bank Audit, who won the Interborough and Distaff Breeders' Cup handicaps, and Cativa, winner of the Barbara Fritchie at Laurel, head a seven-horse field entered in the Grade 3 Bed o' Roses. Spectacular Moon is the only other graded winner in the field.

in last month's Distaff. Bank Audit rallied strongly in the stretch to win the Distaff, while Cativa floundered to fifth. It was the fifth win from six starts for Bank Audit, who was coming back just two weeks after winning an allowance race.

"That was an impressive race last time, coming back in two weeks," said trainer Frank Laboccetta Jr., who recorded his first stakes win that day. "Now she's got a good amount of time and a nice work in her."

Richard Migliore rode Bank Audit last time and will be aboard again Saturday, when she starts as the 119-pound highweight. Migliore said he was thrilled with Bank Audit's workout last Sunday and doesn't have any fear about her ability to get the one-mile distance in this type of company.

Rain is in the forecast, and Bank Audit has never raced over an off track. Laboccetta said he doesn't fear that.

"She'll run on anything," Laboccetta said.

Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. said he believes Cativa didn't like being stuck on the inside in the Distaff, a loss that ended a five-race winning streak. Dutrow had Cativa blow out three furlongs in 35.81 seconds Thursday and thinks his mare will rebound.

"She didn't like being stuck on the inside; she never had a place to go," Dutrow said. "If Edgar would have known she was going to be like that, he probably would have sent her out of there."

Unfortunately for Dutrow, Cativa drew the rail for the Bed o' Roses. Dutrow also entered 7-year-old mare Childress, but she is not definite to run.

Rain shouldn't trouble Cativa, who is 3 for 5 over a wet track.

"She loves it," Dutrow said.

Spectacular Moon comes off a 4 1/2-length allowance win here March 18, her first win since taking the Grade 2 Astarita Stakes in the slop at Belmont in the fall of 2003. She could be the main speed under Norberto Arroyo Jr.

Trainer Shug McGaughey sends out Pleasant Home, a full sister to 2001 Bed o' Roses winner Country Hideway.

Allen Jerkens saddles Actcellent in search of his seventh Bed o' Roses victory.