02/01/2006 12:00AM

Flaming Heart's kind of track


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Whether it's the cooler temperatures, the lesser competition, or an enjoyment of the eight-mile van ride from Belmont Park, there's something about Aqueduct that brings out the best in Flaming Heart.

Her connections hope Flaming Heart's affinity for the Big A continues a little longer as she has one or two more races remaining before she is retired. A 5-year-old mare, Flaming Heart's most immediate start will be Friday, when she meets six challengers in the $60,000 Strolling Belle Stakes at a mile and 70 yards over the inner track.

, who won her maiden in her debut over Aqueduct's track last April, had finished second in five consecutive races at Belmont and Saratoga. During that span, she met subsequent stakes horses Nothing But Fun, Yolanda B Too, and Indian Vale.

Flaming Heart ended her string of seconds by winning an entry-level allowance race over Aqueduct's main track by 2 1/4 lengths. Eight weeks later, she won a second-level allowance race over the inner track, defeating next-out winner Mrs. Doyle.

"I can't say I've seen a big difference in her," said trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. "She looks great. She's a straightforward filly to train. She does everything right.

"I think she just hooked some runners, some real runners, when she was second," he said. "One common denominator is that she's 3 for 3 at Aqueduct. She's a real pretty filly that's doing very well. She really deserves to get some black type, and we hope to do that."

A forecast that calls for rain could be beneficial for Flaming Heart, who is 1-2-0 from 3 starts over a wet track.

More importantly, her main challengers - Amazing Buy and Fleet Indian - would prefer a fast track.

, a multiple stakes winner on the inner track, makes her third start off a layoff. After finishing sixth in the Interborough, she finished third in the Summer Colony behind the undefeated Pool Land. She'll likely try to set the pace under Mike Luzzi from post 3.

Fleet Indian, who has won her last two starts, makes her first start for trainer Todd Pletcher after being purchased at auction earlier this month by Paul Saylor. Fleet Indian won the Montauk over the main track before taking a third-level allowance race at Philadelphia Park.

has done her best running over dry surfaces. She breaks from the outside post under Ramon Dominguez.

Completing the field are After the Tone, Game Card, Strike Me Lucky, and So Sweet a Cat.