03/18/2007 11:00PM

Eyes on Bookmaster as racing resumes


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - After an unscheduled five-day break, horsemen and handicappers alike will be eager to get back into action Wednesday for a nine-race card at Aqueduct.

A wicked winter storm that brought several inches of ice and snow to the region forced the cancellation of three consecutive Aqueduct cards, Friday through Sunday. Following the traditional two dark days, Wednesday's card includes several races brought back from last week as well as a couple of regularly scheduled events. All in all, there are five allowance races on the card, three restricted to New York-breds.

Two of the allowance races also offer an optional claiming provision. Wednesday's eighth race, positioned as the feature, has more of a feel of a $50,000 claiming race than a second-level allowance.

Three of the seven horses entered in the six-furlong dash are offered for $50,000, including the horse to beat, Bookmaster. A 7-year-old son of Notebook, Bookmaster had a three-race win streak snapped last out when he finished third, beaten a half-length by repeat winner It's a Monster, in a starter handicap on Feb. 18.

"He just got outrun, really," said Bruce Levine, who trains Bookmaster. "Can't give him an excuse."

Levine did say that he gave Bookmaster some extra time before his last start because he ran extremely fast winning a starter handicap on Dec. 27. Bookmaster figures to get a stalking trip under leading rider Eibar Coa.

The race appears to have ample speed in it, which could set things up for Bold Mon, who comes off two runner-up finishes in allowance company for trainer Richard Schosberg. In his last start, Bold Mon had to alter course before finishing a rallying second behind River City Rebel.

Levine, the second-leading trainer at this meet with 30 winners from 151 starters, is live in two of the card's other allowance races.

In the third, he sends out Epigrammatic in a first-level allowance race that also carries an optional claiming tag of $75,000. Epigrammatic, who is not offered for the tag, comes off a sharp second-level statebred allowance win, his first start in a year. He not only meets open company here, but also carries 124 pounds, spotting weight to all. He also has the outside post in the seven-horse field.

In the nightcap, Levine sends out Auntie Liz in a first-level statebred allowance race. Auntie Liz finished third in this condition on Feb. 18, her first start in nine months. She gets Lasix for the first time on Wednesday.