01/14/2008 12:00AM

Elliott is meet's hottest rider


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - If things had gone as planned, Stewart Elliott would have been at Oaklawn Park on Monday morning, getting on horses and scouring the backstretch for business ahead of Friday's opening-day card.

But since things have gone better than expected the last six weeks, Elliott was at his Lambertville, N.J., home Monday, taking a buddy deer hunting and basking in the good fortune he is experiencing this winter at Aqueduct.

Buoyed by being the first-call rider for Steve Asmussen's New York stable, Elliott has won 19 races from just 76 mounts - a meet-best 25opercent - and is tied for fourth in the Aqueduct inner-track jockey standings.

Over the last three racing days, Elliott, 42, rode 8 winners from 13 mounts. Included in that streak were six consecutive winners, which tied a modern-day New York Racing Association record. Elliott won with his last three mounts as part of a four-win Friday, both of his mounts on Saturday - including Stage Luck in the Affectionately Handicap - and his first mount on Sunday.

The streak came to an end when Elliott's mount Our Dreamette finished seventh in the second race. Undeterred, Elliott won with his next mount, Karakorum Sunshine.

By riding six consecutive winners on this circuit, Elliott joined an exclusive group of jockeys to accomplish that feat. In September 2005, Jerry Bailey rode six straight winners, also over a three-day period, while Steve Cauthen and Jeffrey Fell won six in a row over two days. Jorge Velasquez went 6 for 6 at Belmont on July 9, 1981.

"I think it's great; I was there before, I didn't do quite as well," said Elliott, who won 41 races from 321 mounts during the 2004-05 inner track meet. "I think I'm having more success this time around."

Elliott's success can be attributed to his relationship with Asmussen, for whom he is 14 for 31 since the inner track opened on Nov. 28. Though Asmussen does keep a string at Oaklawn, he employs Luis Quinonez as his primary rider there. Still, Elliott would have ridden some for Asmussen at Oaklawn.

The decision to stay in New York was made jointly by Elliott and his agent, Joe Rosen, in mid-December after Elliott rode winners for Asmussen and trainer Todd Pletcher on the same day that they learned Eibar Coa - the inner track's leading rider the last two winters - was going to ride at Gulfstream.

"The last day before Aqueduct went on holiday break, I won a race for Asmussen and Pletcher and things were going good," Elliott said. "Joe calls me up and he says we ought to think about staying. I said I was just thinking the same thing."

"Riding for Steve is a pleasure," Rosen said. "His whole organization is great."

Rosen and Elliott realize they probably won't have enough business to compete with Ramon Dominguez and Alan Garcia for leading rider here this winter. But if they could win the battle with Rajiv Maragh and Mike Luzzi for third, Elliott could live with that.

"That would be great," said Elliott, who commutes 90 miles each racing day. "But I'm happy just the way things are. I'm riding pretty much for good people, live horses, and I have a good win percentage. I just hope it stays there."

Marital Asset injured, retired

Marital Asset, a 5-year-old son of A.P. Indy who just seemed to be coming to hand for owner Ed Evans and trainer Anthony Dutrow, suffered a fractured knee and has been retired.

Dutrow said the injury occurred at Aqueduct on Jan. 6 in a workout in which Marital Asset breezed five furlongs in 1:01.92, best of 12 at the distance on the day.

Marital Asset won two allowance races before finishing fourth to Evening Attire in the Grade 3 Queens County Handicap last month. He had been pointing to a rematch with Evening Attire in Saturday's $75,000 Aqueduct Handicap.

While losing Marital Asset hurts, Evans and Dutrow could take solace in the winning performance Sunday by Rough Water, a 3-year-old filly who won a maiden race by 1 3/4 lengths. Her time of 1:43.83 for a mile and 70 yards was 0.19 second faster than Paint Me Red's time in winning the Busanda Stakes later on the card.

Rough Water, a daughter of Stormin Fever out of the Grade 3-winning mare Panama Canal, could face Paint Me Red in the $75,000 Busher Stakes on Feb. 24.

"She's been getting better and better," Dutrow said. "I'm keeping my fingers crossed maybe I can get something done with her in her 3-year-old year. She's a filly that can go long, and whenever Mr. Evans sends you a horse the potential for a good one is there."

Dutrow said his New York-bred Premium Wine, winner of the Gallant Bob Stakes at Philadelphia Park last fall and a first-level allowance race here on Dec. 30, is pointing to the $75,000 Hollie Hughes Stakes here on Feb.o16.

Evening Attire to Aqueduct Handicap

The 10-year-old Evening Attire heads the short list of probable starters for Saturday's $75,000 Aqueduct Handicap. Evening Attire is coming off a popular head victory in last month's Grade 3 Queens County, his 14th win from 63 lifetime starts.

Evening Attire, trained by Pat Kelly, won the Aqueduct Handicap in 2002 and finished second in the race in 2004 and 2006. The Aqueduct, which had been a Grade 3 through last year, has been downgraded to a listed stakes for this running.

Among those considered definite for the 1o1/16-mile Aqueduct are Angliana, second in last year's Aqueduct Handicap; Pink Viper; and Shuffling Maddnes. Judiths Wild Rush and Mayan King are possible.

* Dani Tom Boy, who ended her 3-year-old season with a 14-length maiden win, suffered a fractured left knee during the running of Sunday's first race and was euthanized. A 4-year-old daughter of Came Home, Dani Tom Boy was owned by J and J Stables and trained by Ben Perkins Jr.

* Apprentice jockey Aldo Arboleda has appealed a seven-day suspension for careless riding in the sixth race on Thursday.