04/22/2010 11:00PM

Closing day could be wet at Big A


Mother Nature is expected to shed a few tears, but hardly any horseplayers will follow suit as Sunday marks the final day of the six-month marathon that is Aqueduct.

Following a four-day break, Belmont Park opens its 59-day stint on Friday.

Sunday's nine-race card includes five races for New York-breds, four scheduled turf events, and a forecast that calls for rain. The nominal feature is a first-level allowance for males going seven furlongs.

Star of New York and Monte Carlo, a pair of New York-breds, try open company for the first time. Both horses exhausted their statebred conditions by winning restricted second-level allowance races in their most recent start.

Star of New York may hold an edge over Monte Carlo in that he has displayed the ability to handle an off track.

"He seems to handle anything,'' trainer Gary Contessa said. "One thing [Ramon] Dominguez told me is he is definitely a better one-turn horse than he is a two-turn horse, so seven-eighths will be better for him than a mile and an eighth.''

Monte Carlo returned from a nine-month layoff to win a six-furlong allowance by a head. While he pressed the pace that day, Monte Carlo had previous success in seven-furlong races coming from off the pace.

Trainer Tony Dutrow, who ran Monte Carlo for the first time last out, said the fact his horse was pressing the pace "was not what I thought I was going to see."

"I was happy to see the horse run well and the horse is promising to run well again," he said.

In Monte Carlo's only wet-track start, he finished fifth in the Mike Lee Stakes.

Rocket to the Moon, a maiden winner at Gulfstream last out, and the Dominic Galluscio entry of Ricoriatoa and Emma's Posse are also contenders in this spot.

* In a departure from the normal schedule, entries for Friday's opening-day card at Belmont will be taken Tuesday. When the meet gets going, entries for a Friday card will be taken on Sundays.