02/18/2009 12:00AM

Gold and Roses looks for a repeat


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - With only one win from his last 17 starts, it's fair to say that Gold and Roses has lost a step or two from his glory days. But if the eight-time stakes winner can avoid some of the trouble he's had in two of his last three starts, Gold and Roses could very well repeat in Thursday's $65,000 Hollie Hughes Stakes at Aqueduct.

The Hollie Hughes, a six-furlong race restricted to New York-breds, was moved to Thursday after failing to fill with enough entries to be carded last Monday.

Trainer Richard Schosberg was anxious for the race to be run Monday because his horse has been doing very well, and the prospect of a wet track Thursday could, in Schosberg's eyes, downgrade the 7-year-old gelding's chances.

Gold and Roses won last year's Hollie Hughes, but has lost his last nine starts. Five of those races have come for Schosberg, who took over the training of the gelding last summer.

Gold and Roses didn't run particularly well in his first two starts for Schosberg, but his last three were significantly better. In the Thunder Rumble last November, Gold and Roses had to take up sharply while attempting to rally up the rail and was beaten only three-quarters of a length by Mor Chances, who is in the Hollie Hughes.

In the Kashatreya, Gold and Roses was blocked in upper stretch. He was able to find running room between horses in midstretch, but did not kick on while finishing fourth to Mor Chances.

"I thought he got a little tired," Schosberg said. "Maybe when things opened up, he backed himself out of the bridle a little bit. I'm expecting a move forward from him; he's trained really well since then."

Schosberg had planned to use Rajiv Maragh in the Hollie Hughes, but the second-leading rider at the meet began a seven-day suspension Tuesday. However, Schosberg wound up with Ramon Dominguez, the meet's leading rider, with 70 victories.

Since trainer Richard Dutrow claimed him for $50,000 last fall, Mor Chances has won two restricted stakes with a strong closing kick. He may not get the hot early pace he's benefited from in his previous two starts.

Good Card was beaten just three-quarters of a length by Mor Chances at level weights in the Thunder Rumble three starts back and now gets four pounds from that foe while returning to restricted company.

Be Bullish, Citifest, and Executive Search complete the field.