11/02/2006 12:00AM

Five live stakes on Cup Day card

Email

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Call it the Poor Man's Cup. After last weekend's rain and wind forced the postponement of 17 of 18 races, Aqueduct will run a seven-race card Saturday on Breeders' Cup Day - including five graded handicap stakes.

The Grade 3, $100,000 Turnback The Alarm will be race 3, followed in order by the Grade 3, $150,000 Sport Page; the Grade 2, $150,000 Long Island; the Grade 2, $150,000 First Flight; and the Grade 3, $100,000 Knickerbocker, which concludes the card at 3:27 p.m.

First post is 11:35 a.m.; parking and admission gates open at 10:30 a.m. There will be a pick six on races 2-7, a pick four on races 4-7, and pick-three sequences starting with the second, third, and fifth races.

Skies cleared in New York after some rain early Thursday morning, and the forecast for Saturday was abundant sunshine and seasonal temperatures with highs in the low 50's. That's good news for the two grass stakes - the Long Island, the season's final graded turf stakes for fillies and mares in New York, and the Knickerbocker, originally scheduled for last Saturday.

The 1 1/4-mile Long Island is headed by Royal Highness, who raced three wide finishing third against Breeders' Cup Turf contender English Channel first time out in the U.S., in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic. She drops back in against her own gender, has a new trainer in Christophe Clement, and concedes four to nine pounds to eight rivals. Her most formidable foes are Latice, who was odds-on in this race last year; Safari Queen, who has won two of her last four starts since adding blinkers for trainer Todd Pletcher; and Wait It Out, who arrives in the best form of her career after a strong finish to win an overnight stakes at Belmont. Also in the field are Reform Act, Cologne, Isabel Away, and the longshot entry of Hermance and Mpenzi.

Royal Highness was a Group 2 winner in France at 3. Though winless this year, she has campaigned exclusively in Group 1 and Group 2 races. Her most recent start overseas was a rallying third in the prestigious Prix Vermeille behind Mandesha, who returned to capture the Prix de l'Opera.

"She has been running against good company," said Clement, who has won the Long Island twice previously. "She's gotten used to everything very quickly. A mile and a half and good-to-soft turf should be ideal for her."

Fishy Advice heads Knickerbocker

A field of 11 older males, including one for the main track only, entered the 1o1/8-mile Knickerbocker, with seven of them weighted within two pounds of each other.

Fishy Advice, who began a three-race winning streak in a restricted stakes on turf at Aqueduct last fall, is the starting highweight at 117 pounds on the strength of two wins from three starts this year, including the Caesar Rodney at Delaware Park. Bastille, who snapped Fishy Advice's win streak by a neck in the recent John D. Schapiro Memorial Breeders' Cup, is next at 116.

The 1 1/8-mile Schapiro was timed just a tick off Laurel's course record, and Fishy Advice set all the pace before being caught at the wire by Bastille, receiving the highly unusual comment, "Rail, pace, hand ride."

"Mario [Pino] rode him with a lot of confidence," recalled Fishy Advice's diplomatic trainer, David Donk. "I don't think we've seen that comment before . . . he never drew his stick.

"He's doing really well. He's a little better from off the pace, but there was no pace in his last two."

Other contenders in the Knickerbocker include Tiganello, Giant Wrecker, Drum Major, Islero Noir, and Kurm, an import making his first start in the U.S. off a 29-month layoff for trainer Bobby Frankel.