02/11/2005 12:00AM

Don Six stepping up in class and distance

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OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Don Six will step up in class and stretch out slightly in distance for his next start, the Grade 2, $200,000 General George Handicap at Laurel Park on Feb. 21.

Don Six has been the star of the winter meet at Aqueduct, winning the Gravesend and Paumonok handicaps most impressively. In the Paumonok, he equaled the stakes record by running six furlongs in 1:08.87. He earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 116 for the effort.

"He came out of the race great, and if he runs well, it'll give us a little extra time going into the Carter," said Lake, referring to the Grade 1 Carter Handicap here on April 9.

Lake also said that the timing and purse of the General George makes it more attractive than the Toboggan, a $100,000 race at Aqueduct on March 12. While Don Six has been most successful at six furlongs, he won a seven-furlong allowance race as a 3-year-old.

"He's won going seven-eighths, he's won going a mile and a sixteenth before," Lake said. "I know it hasn't been against that caliber, but at the same time he hasn't been this good."

Don Six has been galloping daily at Philadelphia Park. "He's been doing really tremendous," Lake said.

Others pointing to the General George are Aggadan, Black Silk, Bocca Al Lupo, Gators N Bears, Houston's Prayer, Taste of Paradise, and Unforgettable Max.

McLaughlin runners eye stakes

While most of his better horses are in Florida, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin's "second-string" has done quite nicely in New York this winter. McLaughlin's barn, which is being run by Art Magnuson, has won 14 races, including two stakes during the inner track session.

Several McLaughlin runners are being pointed to upcoming stakes, including Benjamin Baby, Quite a Ruckus, and Saintliness. Benjamin Baby, who gave Richard Migliore his 4,000th career victory in an entry-level allowance race on Feb. 4, is being pointed to the Gotham here on March 19. He is also nominated to next Saturday's Fred "Cappy" Capossela Stakes.

"If he's doing well and it is a short field we may run," Magnuson said. "We don't want to take anything away from the Gotham. If we miss the Cappy, we're not too worried about it."

A short field is expected for the Capossela. Confirmed to run are Distinctive Trick, Maddy's Lion, and Pavo. Possibles include Hottothetouch, Summerland, and Timely Impulse.

Benjamin Baby's allowance win was a nice rebound effort after he finished fifth, beaten 16 1/2 lengths, going one mile on Jan. 9.

"I think we took him out of his game into the first turn," Magnuson said. "He wants to be right in the fight. Nobody's fault, we were just unlucky we didn't get to the lead."

Magnuson said that Quite a Ruckus, a recent addition to the barn, is likely to run in the $75,000 Dearly Precious Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at six furlongs on Feb. 21. Quite a Ruckus, previously trained by Mark Casse, won her maiden in the My Dear Stakes last July 4 at Woodbine. She finished second against colts in the Colin Stakes, also at Woodbine. Quite a Ruckus raced twice last fall, running poorly in both starts.

In her first workout for her new connections, Quite a Ruckus breezed four furlongs in 48.20 seconds over the Belmont training track.

Saintliness, McLaughlin's undefeated filly who won the Affectionately last month, is being pointed to either the Barbara Fritchie Handicap next Saturday at Laurel or the Rare Treat Handicap at Aqueduct on Feb. 26. Roar Emotion possibly will run in whichever of those races Saintliness skips.

Last Sunday, Saintliness worked four furlongs in 49.80 seconds.

Dutrow vs. Dutrow in feature

Brothers Anthony and Richard Dutrow Jr. will square off in a $45,000 second-level allowance race Sunday featuring five 4-year-old fillies running six furlongs.

Anthony Dutrow sends out Special Menu, who comes off a neck win in a nonwinners-of-two-lifetime here on Jan. 6. She will carry the burden of 123 pounds and break from the rail.

Gold Like U got up in the final strides to win an entry-level allowance race by a head in her first start off the Richard Dutrow claim. She has since come back with a five-furlong bullet work at Aqueduct.

Trainer Tom Bush has entered High Peaks back just eight days after she finished a close-up fourth in the Correction Handicap. High Peaks figures to be pressured by Greenberg.

Ensenada, third behind Volatile Vicky and Greenberg last out, completes the field.

* Stewart Elliott rode multiple winners for the third consecutive card Friday, winning the opener with Smokieisabandit ($5.70) and the nightcap with Poker Joe ($4.60). Stewart won three races Wednesday and two on Thursday. He has 30 for the meet, tying him for fourth in the jockey standings.