04/08/2008 11:00PM

Contessa takes two swings at Comely


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Gary Contessa hopes his success in the 3-year-old filly stakes run over the inner track during the winter carries over to the main track on Saturday when he sends out both Ready for Fortune and Love Co in the Grade 2, $150,000 Comely at Aqueduct.

During the winter, Contessa won the Busanda and Dearly Precious as well as a few overnight stakes for 3-year-old fillies. Ready for Fortune won the Dearly Precious in her first start for Contessa, overcoming a bad start to get the victory. Ready for Fortune had another troubled break when she finished second to the front-running Carolyn's Cat in the Grade 3 Cicada on March 15.

"That's been her story," Contessa said. "Both times the horse inside broke out into her. [Mario] Pino rides her back and hopefully we're in good shape. She's been training really well since then."

Love Co figures to be the bigger price of Contessa's twosome. After winning the Glory in Motion Stakes by 12 3/4 lengths on Feb. 3, Love Co finished a well-beaten fourth in the Busher three weeks later after setting the pace.

"I didn't think the pace was that torturous, though it was a pressured pace," Contessa said. "She might have showed the need to be a little more loose on the lead. It'll be a run and gun in the Comely."

Little Belle, who won the Busher, came back to upset last Saturday's Grade 1 Ashland. Sweet Vendetta, who ran second in the Busher, came back to win the Andover Way for Contessa.

Others pointing to the Comely, run as a one-turn mile, are Elusive Lady, Lady Chace, and Zaftig. Possibles include Psycho DJ, Saki to Me, and Weathered.

Treasure Always productive mare

When Raffie's Treasure got up to win her debut by a nose last Sunday, she became the sixth winner from as many foals produced by the mare Treasure Always. Two of her previous five winners, Organizer and Dr. V's Magic, who have won the last two runnings of the $250,000 Empire Classic, are full brothers to Raffie's Treasure. All three New York-breds are by Raffie's Majesty and reside in trainer Dominic Galluscio's Belmont Park barn.

"I wish we had 10 mares like her, then we'd have a barn full of good horses," said Galluscio, who trains those horses for the Majesty Stud of Dr. Bob Vukovich and Digby Barrios.

Galluscio said he had to stop on Raffie's Treasure last September after she developed some shin problems. She resumed training at Palm Meadows in Florida before firing a bullet work out of the gate at Belmont a week before she ran. Her victory came at a mile, which is not surprising considering Raffie's Majesty won his debut at 1 1/16 miles.

"I wasn't worried about distance first time out because they're bred to go a distance," Galluscio said.

Galluscio called Raffie's Treasure "pretty courageous" for being able to battle a more experienced foe to the wire while racing pretty wide. Galluscio said he would point Raffie's Treasure to the Cupecoy's Joy division of the New York Stallion Stakes at Belmont on June 1.

Galluscio said Dr. V's Magic, unraced since finishing third in the Discovery Handicap last November, could make his seasonal debut in the Kingston Handicap here on April 20 depending on how a scheduled breeze goes this weekend. Organizer, unraced since the Evan Shipman last July, has just resumed training.

"I wouldn't mind having an entry in the Empire Classic," Galluscio said about his year-end goal for those two.

Galluscio said there is a 2-year-old filly by Raffie's Majesty that will come to him later this summer. Treasure Always does not have a yearling, but is due to drop a Langfuhr foal in the near future.

Dance Gal Dance to Bouwerie

At some point this year, Raffie's Treasure will likely run into the undefeated Dance Gal Dance, a 3-year-old New York-bred daughter of Disco Rico. Trainer Tim Ritvo has elected to skip Saturday's Grade 3 Comely with Dance Gal Dance, who instead will be pointed to the $100,000 Bouwerie for statebreds at Belmont on May 4.

"She's doing great; we'll work her a couple of times and alter her training a little bit so she'll carry her speed a distance," Ritvo said. "She's been campaigning with statebreds; we'll try to keep her undefeated for a while."

Dance Gal Dance has won all four of her starts, including a pair of overnight stakes for New York-breds.

Santiago wins New York debut

Last month, Victor Santiago won with his first career mount at Gulfstream Park. Wednesday, Santiago made another auspicious debut, guiding January Gent ($4) to a 6 3/4-length victory in Aqueduct's fourth race.

Santiago, 22, graduated from the jockey school in his native Puerto Rico and has worked as an exercise rider in the United States for the last nine months. Santiago, a 10-pound apprentice, is now 3 for 7, with all three of his wins coming for trainer Wesley Ward.