12/18/2003 12:00AM

Class drop points to Aggadan, but winless streak looms


There's certainly a huge difference between a Grade 1 stakes and a stakes restricted to Maryland-breds. Whether the class drop is enough for Aggadan to snap a five-race losing streak is a question handicappers must ask themselves.

Although Aggadan is coming off a pair of triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures in Grade 1 sprints, he doesn't look like a sure thing in Saturday's $60,000 Challedon Stakes at Laurel Park.

The 4-year-old Aggadan, trained by Richard Dutrow Jr., has mainly run against open company the past two seasons, winning 8 of 19 starts. But he has lost the last two times he dropped into Maryland-bred company and hasn't won a race of any kind since June.

In last year's Challedon, Aggadan finished third, three lengths behind the winner, P Day. Three months ago, Aggadan was a distant third at 9-5 in a statebred route at Timonium.

Aggadan faced such tough horses as Ghostzapper, Posse, A Huevo, and Shake You Down in his most recent two starts, the De Francis Memorial Dash and the Vosburgh, where he outran his odds of 63-1 to finish second.

Contention runs deep in the seven-furlong Challedon, which drew a field of 13.

The group includes Deer Run, the beaten favorite in last year's Challedon; Michael's Pride, winner of the Maryland Million Sprint in October; and James, a 3-year-old who is 2 for 2 at seven furlongs.

Deer Run missed by a head in his bid to win the Maryland Million Sprint for the second consecutive year. His closing style should fit perfectly in a field loaded with early speed.

Michael's Pride, a winner of 11 lifetime races, earned a career-best 101 Beyer in the Maryland Million Sprint, but picks up 10 pounds off that win and is the 124-pound highweight.

James just missed in his last two starts against statebreds, both in races at nine furlongs.

Two other dangerous horses are Quick Punch, who comes back 17 days after running a 103 Beyer in an allowance win at Charles Town, and Acrolect, a consistent performer around two turns for trainer Michael Dickinson, who has won with three of the four horses he has started at the Laurel meet.