12/31/2008 12:00AM

Delosvientos favored but vulnerable


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Trainer Gary Contessa has a healthy respect for Delosvientos, but he believes if there's ever a time he wants to challenge that horse, Wednesday's $75,000 Gallant Fox is it.

Having won his last four races at 1 1/2 miles - including the Grade 2 Brooklyn at Belmont in June - Delosvientos will certainly be favored in the 1 5/8-mile Gallant Fox. There is a pick six carryover of $30,464 on a day the entire pool must be distributed because it is the final card of a calendar year.

Contessa has the coupled entry of Lord Kipling and Malibu Moonshine entered against Delosvientos, who missed the Coyote Lakes on Dec. 3 due to a cough and has not run since Sept. 21. Lord Kipling, second in the 1 5/8-mile Coyote Lakes, is definite to start while Malibu Moonshine, away from the races since July, is only possible, Contessa said.

The 100-day layoff coupled with the fact Delosvientos has to carry 124 pounds - 10 more than Lord Kipling - has Contessa thinking upset.

"Obviously, you don't want to see Delosvientos get loose on the lead,'' Contessa said. "Now is the time I want Delosvientos.''

Contessa said he believes the weight will certainly be a factor.

"I'm happy to see him carry that kind of weight against mine,'' he said.

Contessa claimed Lord Kipling for $20,000 in October with races like the Coyote Lakes and Gallant Fox in mind. Lord Kipling had already demonstrated the ability to get a distance of ground by winning races at two miles at Canterbury and Prairie Meadows. In the Coyote Lakes, Lord Kipling ran a solid race to be second behind Lorccan and "probably can only get better,'' Contessa said.

A forecast that calls for a 60 percent chance of rain and snow showers could hurt Lord Kipling - 0 for 5 on a wet track - while aiding Delosvientos and Lorccan. Delosvientos is 2 for 2 on off tracks while Lorccan is 4 for 11.

Lorccan had a little traffic trouble in the Coyote Lakes when he got stuck behind a tiring pacesetter. Jeffrey Sanchez got Lorccan's momentum going again and he was able to wear down Lord Kipling in the final 70 yards.

Jade's Revenge, who won the Fort Harrod going 1 5/8 miles over Keeneland's Polytrack in April, and Senior, a good-looking allowance winner at Laurel last out, are contenders.