11/20/2002 12:00AM

Folkestone, if it's not too sloppy


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Friday's feature at Aqueduct was originally carded as a mile turf race in the condition book. With a forecast for rain and an already rain-saturated turf course, the racing office wisely decided to scrap that idea and to accept entries for a dirt race at the same distance.

The likely favorite in the nine-horse field for the $58,000 allowance is Folkestone Park, a $1.15 million Keeneland yearling with 4 wins from 7 starts.

Folkestone Park, trained by Todd Pletcher, won his only start at Aqueduct earlier this year in a maiden race. Since then, Folkestone Park, a striking chestnut with a big splash of white on his face, has won three allowance races and lost two stakes.

Pletcher said the colt had an excuse when he finished seventh in the Grade 1 King's Bishop, which was run over a sloppy track when heavy rain pounded Saratoga on Travers Day.

Folkestone Park won over a track labeled good at Belmont in the spring, but he encountered something entirely different in the King's Bishop.

"I thought he might have liked a wet track," Pletcher said of Folkestone Park's King's Bishop effort. "But there was a lot of rain and it was quite sloppy. He got out-footed by quicker horses."

In his last start on Oct. 6, Folkestone Park sat behind a lively pace before drawing off late for a 1 1/2-length win in a seven-furlong race.

"He has tactical speed," Pletcher said. "I imagine going a mile, he would be prominent early, but he doesn't have to be on the lead. I think the outside post will be good for him."

The meet's leading trainer, Richard Dutrow Jr., has a solid entry in Burning Marque and Quiet One.

Burning Marque hasn't run since last December, but has won off a similar layoff in the past. In his only start over a wet track in September at Belmont, Quiet One won an allowance race by 4 1/2 lengths over Ground Storm and Judge's Case, who also is entered.

Judge's Case, who won a high-priced claiming race at a mile here in the spring, failed as the favorite in his last start when he finished second behind longshot Banner Headline.

Justification, a head behind Judge's Case in that race, could be sitting on a good effort for trainer Allen Jerkens. Justification has two bullet works since his last race.

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