04/27/2007 12:00AM

Funny Cide will have to work for repeat


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Last year's Kings Point Handicap turned out to be a cozy spot for Funny Cide, who set soft fractions en route to a gate-to-wire victory over Gold and Roses as the 3-5 favorite. While Funny Cide heads Sunday's field in name recognition, he will find things much tougher in the 27th renewal of the $65,000 King's Point.

Funny Cide, the 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner, will face five fellow New York-breds including in-form runners Accountforthegold and Who What Win in the nine-furlong Kings Point, one of two stakes on closing day at Aqueduct.

Last fall, Accountforthegold won an allowance race by nine lengths at Belmont and the Grade 3 Stuyvesant Handicap by one length at Aqueduct. Accountforthegold finished third as the favorite in the Alex M. Robb Handicap for statebreds here on Dec. 31, but came out of that race with a foot bruise.

Trainer Gary Contessa wanted to run him in a money allowance on April 6, but the race didn't fill. Plan B was the Grade 3 Excelsior Handicap, a race in which Accountforthegold set a strong pace only to be run down in the stretch by Magna Graduate and Naughty New Yorker.

"He looked rank going into the first turn," Contessa said. "He was coming off a three-month layoff, and was training really fast because I wanted to have him ready for this race. He came out of the gate rank; I'd rather see a rider turn him loose than fight with him. [Mike] Luzzi did a little bit of both."

Luzzi, who has won with 11 of his last 43 mounts at Aqueduct through Friday, has the call on Accountforthegold from the rail. Contessa also entered Successful Affair and will run that horse if he feels Accountforthegold will face competition on the front end.

Funny Cide, who will wear blinkers for the first time, could be part of the pace. He is coming off a seventh-place finish in an allowance race over Polytrack, and will now return to statebred competition as well as the Aqueduct main track, a surface on which he has run well.

"He looks good, he's healthy, he's sound. We'll run and see," trainer Barclay Tagg said. "He shows the desire in the morning. He didn't show any desire in the race he ran. Then again, it was Polytrack, maybe he didn't like it."

The horse to fear is Who What Win, who has really blossomed since returning from a hind-end injury in the fall. He has been freshened since winning a pair of open-company allowance races in which he earned triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures.

"He's always liked to run; he's always been willing," trainer John Terranova said. "I think just mentally and physically he got a lot stronger."

Carminooch and Classic Pack complete the field.

Steppenwolfer likely headed to turf

After two poor efforts on dirt at Oaklawn Park to begin his 4-year-old campaign, Steppenwolfer could be headed to the turf for his next start, trainer Danny Peitz said. Steppenwolfer finished third in last year's Kentucky Derby and fourth in the Belmont Stakes.

Steppenwolfer has been back in New York for a couple of weeks, and on Wednesday he breezed five furlongs in 1:01.26 over Belmont's main track. Steppenwolfer was a supplemental nominee to the Fort Marcy, but was not entered.

"[Jose] Santos said all along, 'Don't forget this horse can grass,' " said Peitz, who had Santos breeze the horse several times prior to last year's Belmont. "I thought about the Fort Marcy this weekend, but I was a little worried about what type of shape the turf course would be in. And if it came off they would expect me to run, and I don't know if I'd want to run on a wet track."

Steppenwolfer, a son of Aptitude, debuted on turf in the fall of 2005, finishing fifth in a six-furlong race. Peitz was pointing Steppenwolfer to the Virginia Derby last summer but had to scratch the horse when he got sick a few days before the race. That sickness forced Peitz to give Steppenwolfer the rest of the year off, and he was hoping for a big winter at Oaklawn, where the horse first came to prominence last winter. But he finished next to last in an allowance race and the Razorback Handicap.

Peitz said he didn't expect much from the first race, but was disappointed Steppenwolfer didn't run any better in the Razorback.

"His first race I just wanted to get a race into him," Peitz said. "It was a paceless race and he just got outrun. I thought, 'Oh, no big deal.' He seemed like the race woke him up and I was expecting him to run big in the Razorback, and he never picked his feet up."

Winning Move buys Papi Chullo

Steve Sigler's Winning Move Stable purchased Papi Chullo privately from owner Greg Norman. Papi Chullo, who has twice placed in graded stakes, is coming off a last-place finish in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap on April 7.

"He is the most impressive horse I've ever seen," said Sigler, whose Winning Move Stable was the leading owner on this circuit in 2006. "He tries every time - he's placed in Grade 2's, he lost to Premium Tap by [4 3/4 lengths] in the Woodward last September. How do you not like a horse like this?"

Papi Chullo is one of several recent purchases by Winning Move. Woodlander, who runs in Sunday's Fort Marcy, is another one. He came as part of a package that included Party Jones, who ran second the other day. Winning Move bought those horses from Darley Stable.

Papi Chullo is nominated to Wednesday's Grade 3 Westchester Handicap, the opening-day feature at Belmont Park, but he is not expected to run.

Among those who are likely to run in the one-mile Westchester are Happy Hunting, Keyed Entry, Park Avenue Ball, Political Force, and Utopia.

Mollica now Bravo's agent

Drew Mollica has taken over as agent for Joe Bravo, who will be gunning for a 13th Monmouth Park riding title when that meet gets under way next month. In the interim, Bravo has riding commitments at Delaware Park, and Mollica hopes to get him some business in New York on Derby weekend, when several riders will be out of town.

"It's a great opportunity," said Mollica, whose clients have included Chris Antley, Jose Santos, Richard Migliore, and, most recently, Shaun Bridgmohan. "Joe's a terrific rider and I hope we can continue his success."