12/12/2007 12:00AM

Contessa zeroes in on record 156 wins

EmailOZONE PARK, N.Y. - When Wishful Tomcat won Wednesday's ninth race at Aqueduct, it was trainer Gary Contessa's 152nd win of 2007 on the New York Racing Association circuit, breaking his personal best of 151 set last year.

Now, Contessa can set his sights on Frank "Pancho" Martin's NYRA record of 156 set in 1974. Contessa had six runners entered Thursday and eight on Friday's card, including two-horse entries in a pair of $75,000 stakes on the nine-race program.

In the $75,000 Don Rickles for 3-year-old males, Contessa sends out the uncoupled entry of Stunt Man and Wisp. Stunt Man has won 3 of his last 4 starts, a streak that began with his victory in the Albany Handicap at Saratoga on Aug. 22. In that race, he defeated Dr. V's Magic, who came back in the fall to win the $250,000 Empire Classic.

Stunt Man's only loss in his last four starts came in the Grade 2 Jerome Handicap, when he was beaten 13 lengths by Daaher, who later won the Grade 1 Cigar Mile. Stunt Man will break from post 3 under Ramon Dominguez.

Contessa will also send out Wisp, who ran second in a first-level allowance on the inner track on Dec. 1.

The horse to fear in the Don Rickles is Sir Whimsey, who ran very well over the inner track last winter and makes his second start off a layoff for trainer Jimmy Toner.

Later on the card, in the $75,000 Flat Fleet Feet, Contessa sends out the uncoupled entry of Runway Rosie and Bare Dancer. Last winter, Runway Rosie finished third to Rags to Riches in the Grade 1 Las Virgenes and second to Baroness Thatcher in the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel, both at Santa Anita.

Steve Sigler's Winning Move Stable purchased Runway Rosie privately from trainer David Hofmans in October and she finished sixth, beaten 3 1/2 lengths in a turf stakes on Nov. 9. She is drawn nicely on the rail and should have pace to run at. Contessa also sends out Bare Dancer.

Adorable Jane has won four consecutive races since being transferred to trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. All four victories came at Delaware Park in front-running fashion, ranging in distance from six furlongs to a mile and 70 yards.

"I'm not sure what her best game is," Dutrow said. "Once they run around two turns, you like to keep them running around two turns. We kind of targeted this race with her after she was done with the Delaware stuff."