Updated on 09/16/2011 9:53AM

Contessa mulls options


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Trainer Gary Contessa is mapping out plans for Grey Comet and Unswept, the one-two finishers in last Sunday's Damon Runyon Stakes.

Contessa said he would like to keep the New York-breds separated, but intends to nominate both to the $75,000-added Count Fleet, an open stakes for 3-year-olds on Jan. 4.

Grey Comet, a 3 3/4-length winner of the Damon Runyon, is a likely starter for the Count Fleet, which will be run at the same mile and 70-yard distance as the Damon Runyon.

Contessa said another option for the speedy Unswept, who set the pace in the Damon Runyon before Grey Comet collared him in the stretch, is the Fred "Cappy" Capossela at six furlongs here on Jan. 20.

"I think they are above average New York-breds who I would like to think will be competitive in open stakes," Contessa said.

With his win in the Damon Runyon, Grey Comet is undefeated in three starts. The Distinctive Pro colt also won a division of the New York Stallion Stakes last month over Aqueduct's main track.

* Contessa won two races on Wednesday's card to give him the lead in the training standings at the inner track meet. Contessa won the third race with Golden Damsel ($3.40) and the ninth with Private Practice ($6.30).

Contessa leads with seven wins, followed by Bruce Levine (six) and Frank Laboccetta Jr. (five). Contessa captured the 2001-2002 inner track title with 38 winners.

Ground Storm's inner sanctum

Ground Storm confirmed his preference for the inner track by winning Wednesday's $56,000 allowance feature by two lengths. Ground Storm, who likely is headed to the $100,000-added Aqueduct Handicap on Jan. 18, is 4 for 5 over the inner track.

My Man Ryan finished second in the mile and 70-yard race, 3 1/2 lengths in front of Tempest Fugit. Free of Love, winner of the Westchester Handicap in May, made his first start since July and finished fourth as the second betting choice.

With some of the speed horses scratched, Free of Love and Burning Marque sprung to the lead and dueled through six furlongs in 1:12.46.

The rest of the field caught up with the tiring pacesetters at the top of the stretch. Ground Storm, under jockey Javier Castellano, came with an outside move to take the lead.

Ground Storm ($5.40) completed the distance in 1:42.05 over a fast track.

Trained by Bill Mott and owned by Centennial Farms, Ground Storm finished second in this year's Aqueduct Handicap behind subsequent Grade 1 winner Evening Attire. In March, Ground Storm, a 6-year-old son of Summer Squall, won the Grade 3 Stymie Handicap.

* The racing office will conduct a double entry draw on Saturday for the

Dec. 26 and Dec. 27 racing cards. Next week, Aqueduct will be closed on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, Christmas Day. Racing resumes on Dec. 26.