02/13/2003 12:00AM

'Ghost' of a chance?


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - After a head-turning performance in a first-level allowance race last month, Harford Ghost seeks her first stakes victory in Saturday's $75,000-added Dearly Precious at Aqueduct.

Harford Ghost will meet six other 3-year-old fillies in the six-furlong Dearly Precious, the first of three stakes to be run over the three-day holiday weekend. The weather forecast is for wintry conditions throughout the weekend.

Harford Ghost, a Silver Ghost filly, showed talent from the get-go by winning her career debut at Monmouth Park by 13 1/2 lengths and earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 95. She lost her next two starts, including a poor performance in the Astarita Stakes in the slop.

John Stuart, Harford Ghost's owner, transferred the filly to trainer Tony Dutrow's barn after her 2002 campaign concluded with a second-place finish as the favorite in Nov. 9 allowance race. In her first start for Dutrow, Harford Ghost set the pace and romped to a 4 1/2-length win in an Aqueduct allowance race on Jan. 18.

"I was unaware of just how talented she was," Dutrow said from his Laurel Park barn. "I was impressed with what I saw. Watching her that day, she looked like she was very kind for the rider. Obviously, she will be somewhat close to the pace."

Richard Migliore, aboard in her last start, will ride Harford Ghost from post 3. Migliore is shooting for his third win in the Dearly Precious.

Lizzy Cool, the gate-to-wire winner of the Ruthless on a wet track here on Jan. 5, looks like Harford Ghost's main competition. In her start before the Ruthless, Lizzy Cool controlled the pace and won a maiden $75,000 claimer by 5 1/2 lengths on the inner track.

Lizzy Cool's trainer, Bobby Barbara, said the addition of blinkers and a shadow roll in her last two starts benefited his filly, who had ducked in at the break in one of her prior races.

"She is very fast, and they will have to be fast to get to her," said Barbara, who won the Dearly Precious three years ago with Southern Sandra.

C.C. Lopez rides Lizzy Cool, who drew post 5.

After two poor performances in route races, Ladyecho returned to a sprint and won the Marshua at Laurel Park on Jan. 4 for trainer John Servis. Ladyecho's other sprint races were all good and she figures to get a nice stalking trip behind Lizzy Cool and Harford Ghost.

"She doesn't have that blistering speed. She's a better closing sprinter," Servis said.

Reign of Tara, second as the favorite in the Ruthless, is also entered.