02/24/2006 1:00AM

Daytime Promise stands out

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OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Much the same way Achilles of Troy has developed into the top 3-year-old colt based in New York this winter, Daytime Promise has forged to the head of the 3-year-old filly class.

Gary Contessa, the trainer of , has gone as far as to consider his filly a potential starter in the Grade 1 Ashland, run at Keeneland on April 8. If she is that good, then Daytime Promise should be able to handle the competition in Sunday's $65,000 Busher Stakes at Aqueduct. The Busher, run at 1 1/16 miles, drew a field of seven.

After finishing fourth in a hot maiden sprint race on Dec. 4 - six of the 10 runners to have run back have won - Daytime Promise is 2 for 2 in route races over the inner track. On Jan. 1, she made a sustained bid to win her maiden by 5 1/2 lengths over next-out winner and Busher entrant Regal Engagement. Three weeks later, in the Busanda, Daytime Promise was closer to the pace and unleashed a powerful kick to run down Last Romance, also entered in the Busher.

"She's learning what racing's all about," said jockey Norberto Arroyo Jr. "She's getting very aggressive. She feels better every time I get on her."

Arroyo, who has won five stakes this year, worked Daytime Promise Wednesday morning in a bullet 1:00.93 for five furlongs. Daytime Promise will break from post 6 under top weight of 122 pounds.

came out of her loss to Daytime Promise to win her maiden by seven lengths on Jan. 20. She was a run-off in her loss to Daytime Promise, but settled much kinder on the lead in her maiden win.

"It was nice to see the filly settle the way she did with Ramon [Dominguez]," trainer Tom Bush said.

, a daughter of Unbridled' s Song who finished ahead of Daytime Promise in that Dec. 4 race, makes her first start around two turns after taking a maiden sprint race on Jan. 8.

"Every indication in her training says she's going to thrive on the opportunity to stretch out," said Seth Benzel, the assistant to Todd Pletcher, trainer of Trendy Lady. "She was a big immature filly who we felt needed that first run to get a clue as to what she was doing. In her second start she took what that experience gave her and ran a real professional race."