03/06/2009 12:00AM

Giant Moon regains winning form


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Giant Moon's comeback is complete.

The New York-bred juvenile champion of 2007, Giant Moon returned to the winner's circle for the first time in 14 months on Friday with a hard-fought, one-length victory in the $65,950 Mr. G.J.G. Stakes for New York-breds at Aqueduct.

See More Spirit, who looked like he was going to go by Giant Moon in the stretch, had to settle for second, 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Dr. D.F.C.

The victory ended a four-race losing streak for Giant Moon that began with a last-place finish in the 2008 Gotham and included an eighth-place finish in the Preakness. Prior to that, Giant Moon had won his first four starts, including the Count Fleet Stakes.

Hampered by foot problems, Giant Moon was away from the races for nearly nine months before returning with a second-place finish to Manteca in the Rough Rogue Stakes on Feb. 6.

Friday, jockey Ramon Dominguez sent Giant Moon to the front and he dueled with R Clear Victory through fractions of 24.96 seconds, 50.16, and 1:14.33 for six furlongs. After putting away R Clear Victory, Giant Moon had to fend off See More Spirit, which he did, edging away in the final furlong. Giant Moon covered the 1o1/16 miles in 1:45.44 and returned $3.30.

"If you don't know him, you really get worried because he just gives you as little as he has to," Dominguez said. "When they come to him, they push him, he kind of eases back and goes again. You definitely have to earn your money. You have to ride him pretty much every step of the way, but he's a runner."

"He does what he has to do," said Richard Schosberg, who trains Giant Moon for Al Fried. "It's good to see that he's back and doing well all healed up."

Though Schosberg would eventually like to run Giant Moon against open company, there is the $65,000 Kings Point Handicap for New York-breds on April 26 over Aqueduct's main track.

McLaughlin has two for Cicada

Having taken the two listed sprint stakes for 3-year-old fillies at this meet, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin now has his eyes set on the first graded event of the year for sprinting fillies.

McLaughlin plans to send out both Dream Play, winner of the Dearly Precious, and Elusive Heat, a 13 1/4-length allowance winner at Gulfstream last month, in next Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 Cicada at six furlongs.

Elusive Heat is by Elusive Quality out of the mare Xtra Heat, who won the 2001 Cicada. After winning her debut at Belmont last October, Elusive Heat was beaten a nose by Gemswick Park in the Grade 3 Old Hat on Jan.o24 at Gulfstream. She bounced back with a tremendous allowance score on Jan. 29 at Gulfstream, running six furlongs in 1:08.94 and earning a 108 Beyer Speed Figure.

"She is a serious filly," said Art Magnuson, McLaughlin's New York-based assistant. "Great run last time out. Leading to the Old Hat, she missed a couple of days of training, but she still ran very, very well."

Dream Play, who rolled to an 8 1/4-length victory in the Dearly Precious, is "doing better all the time," Magnuson said. The McLaughlin stable also won the Ruthless here with Justwhistledixie, who returned to win the Grade 2 Davona Dale at Gulfstream.

Others pointing to the Cicada include Heart Ashley, Love That Dance, One Smokin' Lady, Purrfect Bluff, and either Chattertown or Town Glory from trainer Steve Klesaris's barn.

Andria Terrill gets first win

Andria Terrill, the great-niece of retired trainer Red Terrill, won her first race as a jockey Friday when she guided 64-1 shot Wild Holly to victory in the fifth race. Terrill, 26, captured her first win in just her 13th career mount.

"The trainer [Paulino Ortiz] said try to get her to move around the turn," said Terrill, who saved all the ground before tipping five to six wide for the stretch. "I said, 'They're all dying here, we might win this thing.' I was very calm because it was completely unexpected."

After getting her picture taken, Terrill received the customary bath of water, eggs, and baby powder from her fellow riders.

Terrill, who received an associate's degree from SUNY-Farmingdale College, said she always had riding in the back of her mind. She worked as a hotwalker for trainer Stanley Hough before heading to Ocala, Fla., where she started getting on horses to "get balance and strength. . . . This is a dream come true."

Castro returns; Russell takes off

Jockey Eddie Castro, who was thrown hard to the ground when his mount, Private Details, broke down at the quarter pole of Wednesday's second race, returned to race-riding on Friday. He went winless in four mounts.

Meanwhile, jockey Sheldon Russell, who was unseated when his mount, Sigh You, broke down at the quarter pole in Thursday's eighth race, took off his five mounts Friday. Unfortunately for him, two of those mounts won.

Though X-rays on Russell's right elbow were negative, he took off due to some soreness in the right arm, agent Bill Castle said. Russell was expected to return on Saturday.