03/23/2009 12:00AM

Duggan seeks strong inner-track finish

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OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Even though his stakes winners Stud Muffin and Porte Bonheur were getting some time off, trainer David Duggan stayed right on course this winter, winning 11 races from 41 starters thus far during Aqueduct's inner-track meet.

Wednesday begins the final week of racing over the inner track, and Duggan hopes Megadeed can continue the barn's good fortune when she meets five opponents in an optional-claiming race for fillies and mares going six furlongs. Megadeed, a two-time winner over the track, is one of two horses in the field not being offered for the $50,000 claiming tag. A New York-bred daughter of Precise End, Megadeed defeated open company two starts back in front-running fashion.

In her next start, the Broadway Handicap for New York-breds, Megadeed broke poorly from the rail and wound up chasing the front-running winner, Lights Off Annie, all the way around the track before finishing fourth. Megadeed was only defeated three-quarters of a length for second.

"She just got outrun, she was not good enough," Duggan said of the Broadway. "I think this race fits us perfectly."

Duggan makes a rider switch to apprentice Sheldon Russell, hoping to take advantage of the five-pound weight allowance. Megadeed will break from post 3, two slots outside of the other speed horse, Captivating Cathy, who also will race without a claiming tag. Coming off a seven-week layoff, Captivating Cathy went gate to wire in a nonwinners-of-two-lifetime allowance race. How she breaks Wednesday could hold the key to this race.

Motor City Mama came off a 110-day layoff to finish second behind Salt Water Reign in a race in which she pressed the pace. If jockey Jeffrey Sanchez can get Motor City Man off the pace in this spot, she could be a late threat.

Stettler, who was favored in the open-company race that Megadeed won, also may benefit from a more patient ride than she received last time from Rajiv Maragh.

Stettler is trained by Bruce Levine, who earlier in the card sends out the speedy Golden Win in a second-level New York-bred allowance race going a mile and 70 yards. In her first start since April, Golden Win led for every jump but the last one when she was caught by Baroness, whom she faces in this field.

Golden Win will have to avoid dueling with Sapphire Sky, who drops out of a 3-year-old filly stakes race in which she finished second to the unbeaten What a Pear.