03/01/2007 1:00AM

Contessa three deep in Stymie


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Strength in numbers is a key to Gary Contessa's success this winter over Aqueduct's inner track.

The runaway leader in the trainer standings, Contessa has more than double the starters - and victories - of runner-up Bruce Levine.

Contessa applies that numerical superiority Saturday to the $65,000 Stymie Handicap at 1 1/8 miles with three entrants: Silver Prospector, Colita, and Malibu Moonshine.

Contessa, undecided as to how many he will run, calls Silver Prospector his only definite starter.

"He's a good speed horse, and hopefully he'll show it," Contessa said.

Last time out, Silver Prospector set the pace in the Big A's 1 1/4-mile Proud Appeal Stakes before weakening to fourth.

The other two are closers who have run once for Contessa. Colita, a $75,000 claim, rallied for fourth in the John B. Campbell Handicap at Laurel. Malibu Moonshine was also fourth, coming from off the pace in a money allowance race here on Feb. 9.

Malibu Moonshine and Colita race as an entry; Silver Prospector is a separate betting interest.

Dazzling Dr. Cevin steps up after making his Aqueduct debut on Feb. 9, running fifth in the same race as Malibu Moonshine. It was his first start since finishing fifth in the slop in the Grade 3 Fred Hooper Handicap on Dec. 16 at Calder.

"We thought he might have needed that last race over the track," trainer Tim Ritvo said from Florida. "He'd had a little bit of time between races and it was his first time over the surface. If he gets a good trip and everything lines up the right way, he's got enough quality to beat these kind of horses. We think he'll run a very big race this weekend."

Summer Doldrums preps for Gotham

Rick Violette flew up from Florida to watch Summer Doldrums work Thursday morning at Aqueduct. The colt made the trainer's one-day trip worthwhile with a five-furlong move in 1:01.31 in his last major drill before the Grade 3, $200,000 Gotham Stakes for 3-year-olds here on March 10.

"He went great," Violette said. "We're basically ready to roll."

Summer Doldrums comes into the

1 1/16-mile Gotham off back-to-back victories. He was a front-running

5 1/4-length winner most recently in the Whirlaway Stakes on Feb. 10, earning a career-best 106 Beyer Speed Figure.

"I did treat him kindly this month," Violette said. "He's coming off a very big effort and we're supposed to bounce and all of that stuff. It's not like you can get him out and graze in 75 degree weather. They expend a lot of energy keeping warm. We took all of that into account. If anything, we under-trained him, and we'll live with that."

Stakes coordinator Andrew Byrnes also expects Believeinmenow, Cowtown Cat, Crafty Bear, How Sweet He Is, Longley, Mint Slewlep, Sir Whimsey, and Wafi City for the Gotham, Aqueduct's major prep leading to the Grade 1 Wood Memorial on April 7.

* Ramon Dominguez escaped injury when he was dumped at the start of the second race Thursday. It was only the second day back for Dominguez, who was sidelined with a knee bone bruise in a spill here on Feb. 1. Dominguez did get the first win of the comeback aboard Missmewhenimgone ($6.10) in the seventh race.