01/12/2006 12:00AM

Class edge goes to Aggadan


Aggadan's age may not be nearly as important as the back class he brings into Saturday's $85,000 Native Dancer Stakes at Laurel Park.

Now 7, Aggadan is older than six of the seven rivals he will face in the one-turn mile race. The exception is his uncoupled stablemate, Bailero, a 7-year-old Argentine-bred who will only run if trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. decides to scratch Aggadan.

Although Aggadan was winless in 10 starts in 2005, he was beaten 1 1/4 lengths or less in three different Grade 3 stakes in New York and New Jersey.

Contrarians can point out, however, that Aggadan may be slipping. He was the beaten favorite in each of his last two starts and had to settle for second at 9-5 odds in the Maryland Million Classic in October.

As of Thursday afternoon, Dutrow said he was uncertain whether he would run Aggadan, because the horse had a physical problem.

"We had to fix a quarter crack with him recently," Dutrow said. "He was pounding a little up front."

Aggadan did appear sharp in a three-furlong workout Thursday morning at Aqueduct. He was clocked in 34.81 seconds, nearly three seconds faster than the next-best move at the distance.

If Dutrow decides Aggadan isn't ready to race, he will start Bailero, a winner in 4 of 12 starts in 2005. Aside from a dull outing when he was outclassed in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile, Bailero has been sharp in three of his last four races, all one-turn miles.

Several Maryland-based horses in the Native Dancer field have excelled at Laurel, but all are moving up in class.

Your Bluffing, a 6-year-old who is 11 for 16 lifetime over Laurel's main track, has won his last three starts, two at one mile or longer. He has been freshened since easily winning an optional claiming race at six furlongs with a 100 Beyer Speed Figure, one point shy of his career best.

"We had a great fall with him," said trainer Michael Trombetta. "Last time I wanted to run him long, but those races weren't filling, so we gave him a shot sprinting six furlongs. The race looks pretty competitive, but this horse just loves Laurel Park."

Skycrossing has been first or second in 8 of 14 starts at Laurel. Trained by Fran Campitelli, he comes off a win over a sloppy track going a mile in which he beat Bailero by a length.