10/28/2003 12:00AM

Fircroft tries to snap six-race funk


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Fircroft, inactive since finishing last of six in the Grade 1 Alabama at Saratoga in August, returns to the races in a $50,000 allowance race Thursday at Aqueduct.

Fircroft, who is owned by G. Watts Humphrey Jr., will be a deserving favorite among five fillies entered in the 1 1/8-mile dirt race for nonwinners-of-two-other-than.

Fircroft's last win came in the off-the-turf Miss Grillo at Aqueduct on Oct. 27, 2002. The ungraded Miss Grillo was run at the same distance as that of Thursday's allowance race.

Despite losing six straight since the Miss Grillo, Fircroft has run well in tough spots, including runner-up finishes in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks and Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes.

Fircroft's trainer, Rusty Arnold, has removed the blinkers that Fircroft has worn in her last four starts.

Javier Castellano replaces the injured Jean-Luc Samyn aboard Fircroft, who drew post 4.

Flag Pin, a New York-bred, easily won the restricted New York Oaks at Finger Lakes on Sept. 1. After winning 3 of 4 starts, Flag Pin will run in open company for the first time on Thursday.

Coming off a strong Belmont Park fall meet, Allen Jerkens sends out Tactical Plus. Tactical Plus, who won her last race Oct. 13, will be ridden by Ray Ganpath from the rail. It will be her first start around two turns.

Little Bonnet finished a well-beaten second as the favorite in her last start at this level on Oct. 10. Suave Queen is 0 for 10 this year and 3 for 32 lifetime.

A stakes-caliber allowance

Boston Brahmin, Artaxes at Work, Redskin Warrior, and Tabacchi were all nominated to Sunday's $100,000 Nashua, but are passing that spot in favor of Thursday's eighth race, a $47,000 allowance sprint for nonwinners-of-one-other-than.

Seven 2-year-old males were entered in the six-furlong race.

Boston Brahmin, who won his maiden impressively in July at Belmont, is the likely favorite after four consecutive losses in stakes. In his last start, Oct. 12, Boston Brahmin finished third in the Cowdin.

Redskin Warrior, an easy winner of a maiden race Oct. 2 at Belmont, could hold a home-court advantage since he is stabled at Aqueduct.

Artaxes at Work, who raced greenly when he won his debut last month, worked a bullet half-mile in 48.11 seconds, with the dogs up, on Belmont's muddy main track on Tuesday.