03/10/2010 12:00AM

Don't read too much into switch


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - It seems as though Ramon Dominguez rides the favorite in every race at The Big A, but in 2010 that has actually been the case just more than half of the time: 134 out of 249 mounts through March 7.

Among the eight 3-year-old fillies entered in Thursday's $60,000 Dreamy Mimi overnight stakes, Dominguez rode three - Awesome Bull, Offlee Cool, and Sharp Instinct - to win their last starts by five lengths or more.

Nevertheless, he won't be on any among that trio but instead pilots Speightful Affair, a Steve Asmussen-trained filly who ran third as the 8-5 choice in the Busher Stakes under C.C. Lopez last out.

Two weeks before the Busher, Speightful Affair returned from a two-month layoff and overcame a stumbling start under Dominguez to win a maiden race in her first start on dirt.

Handicappers might assume Speightful Affair to be the second coming of Hindoo, since the meet-leading rider apparently forsakes three blowout winners to hop back on. But though she is an obvious contender, this was not a pick-and-choose situation.

"We were supposed to ride Cuff Me for Tony Dutrow, but at the last minute he decided to run her in the Florida Oaks [at Tampa Bay Downs] on Saturday," said Steve Rushing, the agent who has put Dominguez on a fleet of Cadillacs this winter.

"It's fortunate we were able to land the mount at the last minute, and we're very happy to be riding that horse."

Post 7 can be a tactical disadvantage at a mile and 70 yards, but Speightful Affair may be able to work out a decent trip, given Dominguez's talents as a position rider and the fact that Awesome Bull, Offlee Cool, Sharp Instinct, and Anchorage have all done their best running with clear early leads.

Anchorage, the Busher runner-up, and Sharp Instinct, 2 for 2 in blinkers, are uncoupled for Todd Pletcher.

The competitive lineup also includes Shine Upon, a Congaree filly moving up in class and distance after winning her first two starts against New York-bred sprinters.

Tribeca and Rumpus Room round out the field.

Horsemen, breeders plan rally

New York Thoroughbred Breeders and the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association are organizing a rally at Belmont Park, in hopes of eliciting action on the long-stalled Aqueduct racino project.

Noting the crippling effect that delays and inaction have had on the Thoroughbred industry in New York, the NYTB and NYTHA have scheduled the rally for Sunday, March 21, from 12-2 p.m., on the apron in front of the Belmont Cafe, to show, "We support New York Thoroughbred Racing and Breeding and it supports us."

For further information, contact the NYTB at (518) 587-0777 or the NYTHA at (718) 848-5045.