01/07/2010 1:00AM

Eightyfiveinafifty has Contessa all abuzz


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Trainer Gary Contessa was at Gulfstream Park on Thursday, but the primary reason New York's leading trainer the last four years took stalls this winter at the south Florida track was back at Aqueduct. Eightyfiveinafifty, whom Contessa believes could be an important 3-year-old in 2010, returns to the races in a six-furlong maiden race over the inner track.

"I'm incredibly high on him," Contessa said. "I'd be very disappointed if he lost."

Contessa had planned to ship Eightyfiveinafifty to Gulfstream for the winter, but the horse injured a hock that cost him a significant amount of training time.

"It took me a month to fix the problem," Contessa said. "It was time-consuming."

Eightyfiveinafifty, a son of Forest Camp, debuted on Aug. 1 at Saratoga. Sent off at 27-1, Eightyfiveinafifty dueled through a half-mile in 44.21 seconds with Discreetly Mine, putting that horse away, but setting the race up for Dublin to win from off the pace. Eightyfiveinafifty finished third, beaten 4 1/4 lengths. A month later, Dublin won the Grade 1 Hopeful. Discreetly Mine would come back to win a maiden race and run second in both the Grade 2 Futurity and Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont Park.

Contessa said Eightyfiveinafifty came out of his debut with badly bucked shins. Since returning from the hock issue, Eightyfiveinafifty has breezed twice, including a bullet five furlongs in 59.20 seconds over the inner track on Jan. 4.

"I haven't trained him hard - he does everything on his own," said Contessa, who has Jorge Chavez to ride. "He's ready."

The six-furlong race, which goes as the second on the day, has several interesting first-timers, including Avenging Spirit, Winaholic, and Bojan. Bojan, a son of Wildcat Heir, is the one Contessa fears most.

"Wildcat Heir was one fast son of a gun, and I looked at a lot of his horses, but I think the world of my horse," Contessa said. "I love him. I wouldn't trade."

Grusmark looks to Weathered, Yet Again

Trainer Karl Grusmark enjoyed a stellar winter meet here last year, winning with 8 of his 54 starters, and scoring three stakes victories. After Weefc finished seventh in Thursday's sixth race, Grusmark was 0 for 18 at the winter meet.

Grusmark is hoping his big guns, Weathered and Yet Again, can help turn the tide in upcoming stakes races here. Weathered and Yet Again are both nominated to the Jan. 18 Affectionately Stakes - a race Yet Again won last year. Grusmark said both will also be nominated to the Darlin Momma Stakes for New York-bred fillies and mares on Jan. 14.

As of Thursday, Grusmark was leaning toward running Yet Again in the Affectionately and Weathered in the Darlin Momma. Weathered won the Rare Treat and Grade 3 Next Move over the inner track last winter. She ended 2009 with a runner-up finish in the Grade 3 Turnback the Alarm and an eighth-place finish in the Top Flight.

"She's a real nice filly, just a notch below the top fillies," Grusmark said. "We need to get her in a couple of easier spots and get her going."

On Thursday, Weathered work five furlongs in 1:00.06, essentially equaling the fastest time of the morning for the distance.

Yet Again won two races over the inner track last winter, but has lost her last eight starts, with three runner-up finishes mixed in. On Jan. 4, she worked a bullet half-mile in 47.40 seconds over the Belmont training track.

Iselin horse DQ'd, trainer not suspended

Crafty Gem, a horse trained by Jimmy Iselin who finished second in the ninth race at Belmont Park last Oct. 15, was disqualified and unplaced in the order of finish after a post-race exam revealed the presence of the drug fluphenazine, a sedative, in the horse's system.

The stewards took no action against Iselin as veterinary records showed the medication was given several weeks out from the race and that the drug may have lingered in the horse's system, according to State Racing and Wagering Board steward Carmine Donofrio.