01/12/2007 12:00AM

Contessa has three shots at repeat


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Gary Contessa must have really enjoyed winning the Busanda Stakes last year. Sunday, Contessa sends out three of the eight fillies entered in the $65,000 stakes for 3-year-old fillies at a mile and 70 yards over Aqueduct's inner track.

Contessa believes he is holding a strong hand with Bare Dancer, My Kitty, and That Girl Is Mine, though he is extremely excited about saddling the latter. Bare Dancer and My Kitty will be coupled, as they are both owned by Darlene Bilinksi. That Girl Is Mine will be a separate betting interest.

That Girl Is Mine won a five-furlong sprint at Woodbine in her debut for trainer Mark Casse before being transferred by the Colleen S Stable to Contessa. That Girl Is Mine broke poorly in both of her starts for Contessa, but made up significant ground in each. Her race on Nov. 12 was run over a sloppy track, and though she finished sixth, the race is better than it looked on paper.

"That day the track had a speed bias second to none and she ran a hell of a race," Contessa said. "She took a little while to get going. In her works she finishes incredibly strong. If I had to put my finger on a horse that was coming up to the race the right way, I would say that she's the one."

That Girl Is Mine has a propensity to act up in the paddock and in the gate, and Contessa said he has schooled the filly in both areas countless times since the last race.

My Kitty is coming off a head victory in the East View Stakes on Dec. 3, her ninth race of the year and sixth in 14 weeks. Bare Dancer won a maiden $50,000 claiming race in her last outing.

Sagamoon and Cabbage Patch Gal are the two most logical horses to spoil the day for Contessa.

Sagamoon, a New York-bred daughter of Malibu Moon, has won her last two, since going on Lasix. She went gate to wire winning a two-turn mile race over the inner track on Nov. 18, though she did drift out badly late.

"She still has some greenish, baby qualities," said Any Rehm, assistant to trainer Tom Albertrani. "It was her first time here, and she saw something and got spooked. She was in front so much by herself. We always thought she was very nice New York-bred."

Cabbage Patch Gal, a Maryland-bred daughter of Not for Love, showed marked improvement last out, going gate to wire to win a 1 1/16-mile maiden race.