11/17/2003 12:00AM

Conditions ripe for 'World' win


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - The horse-for-course handicapping angle has been a most profitable one at this meet, and could continue to reap benefits for its loyalists in Wednesday's $50,000 second-level allowance feature at Aqueduct.

The open-company allowance is the eighth of nine races on the card and is the penultimate leg of the pick six, which features a $127,104 carryover after no one hit it over the weekend.

Compelling World, a 5-year-old New York-bred gelding, has lost his last 11 races dating back 19 months. But he has done his best work at Aqueduct, where he is 3 for 4, including a victory in a division of the Kings Point Handicap, run at nine furlongs here in April 2002.

The last time Compelling World ran at Aqueduct was 51 weeks ago when he finished fourth as the favorite in this same condition. Trainer John Destefano explained that Compelling World came out of that race with an injured ankle.

Compelling World entered that race off a stellar second-place finish to Gander in the $250,000 Empire Classic. He enters this race off a fifth-place finish behind Well Fancied in the Empire Classic after being bumped hard after the start.

"He went into the race perfect,'' Destefano said. "He just wasn't himself coming out of the race.''

Destefano said that Compelling World is doing well now. The presence of several speed types in the field and a forecast that calls for rain could aid Compelling World, who will be ridden by apprentice Pablo Fragoso.

"He's doing well. He likes that track, so we're cautiously optimistic,'' Destefano said. "He likes a wet track - that I don't mind at all. In fact, I welcome that.''

The horse to beat - and another horse who likes Aqueduct and a wet track - is Volkonsky. Trained by Todd Pletcher, Volkonsky is only 2 for 9, but his four best races have come in two-turn, nine-furlong races. Two starts back, under those conditions, Volkonsky earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 97 when he finished second to Inamorato. In 2002, Volkonsky won a nine-furlong maiden race going two turns by 17 1/2 lengths.

Last out, Volkonsky finished fifth in a second-level allowance race at Belmont, a race in which Compelling World finished second.

"We've been waiting for a two-turn race for a while,'' said Pletcher, who will also send out the underachieving Indy Dancer in the race. "Obviously, Belmont didn't offer that. This race came up a little later than we wanted it because he's been ready to run for awhile.''