10/28/2009 12:00AM

Dantastic dangerous on either surface


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - After wet weather forced the races off the turf for the first two days of the meet, Aqueduct officials are hoping to get on the grass Friday with three scheduled turf races, including a pair of New York-bred allowance races that serve as the co-features on a nine-race card.

The first race of the day is the richest on the card, a second-level optional $30,000 claimer at 1 1/16 miles. Dantastic, a 5-year-old gelding, is one of five horses being offered for the optional claiming tag of $30,000, and he could be the horse to beat on turf or dirt.

Dantastic, trained by Richard Schosberg, has excelled on soft turf, recording both of his wins this year on yielding ground at Belmont. He also owns a victory over an Aqueduct turf course labeled good in 2007. Dantastic is coming off an eighth-place finish in a starter allowance at Belmont on Oct. 12, a race in which he was steadied along the rail after being blocked at the quarter pole. Though he finished eighth, he was beaten only four lengths.

"He had a lot of trouble in the race. He kind of finds trouble,'' Schosberg said. "You save ground and get lucky or you save ground and you don't get lucky. He never had a chance to get out.''

Schosberg said he wouldn't mind if the race came off the turf as Dantastic also has decent wet-track form.

"I think he's 3-5 if it comes off,'' said Schosberg, who also entered Hammock, but would only run him if the race comes off.

Separatist, beaten a neck at this level 15 days ago, is another who would be solid on turf or dirt. Ramon Dominguez rides for trainer Barclay Tagg.

Mr. Hooker could offer some value in a full field of first-level allowance New York-breds set to run 1 1/16 miles on the turf in the eighth race. His two best races have come over soft or good ground, including a victory in a two-turn mile race at Saratoga on Aug. 19. In his first try against winners, Mr. Hooker finished ninth, beaten four lengths at Belmont. Trainer Robert Reinacher said he was mystified by that performance and is adding blinkers to the gelding's equipment "to pick his interest up and get him a little more focus.''

Cash'n in Dixie, a son of Dixie Union, stretches out in distance for the first time after a win and a second sprinting.