11/09/2007 1:00AM

Gold and Roses's speed dangerous

EmailOZONE PARK, N.Y. - Gold and Roses will try to salvage what has been a disappointing season when he heads a field of eight entered in Sunday's $75,000 Thunder Rumble Stakes at Aqueduct.

The Thunder Rumble is one of six New York Stallion Stakes - races restricted to progeny of New York-based stallions - carded for Sunday's nine-race card at Aqueduct. The program also features the rescheduled Grade 3 Long Island Handicap and the Smart Angle, an overnight stakes.

Gold and Roses won 4 of 10 starts last year and finished worse than third only once. This year, he is 1 for 5 with that win coming in the John A. Morrissey Stakes at Saratoga. Coming off fourth-place finishes in his last two races, Gold and Roses will have his blinkers removed by trainer Tom Bush on Sunday. Despite the change, Bush expects Gold and Roses to be on the lead in a race that came up void of early speed.

"I'm going to let him bounce out of there and if they're breathing on him he's going to know it and we'll see if he's got his mind on running,'' Bush said.

The horse to beat in the Thunder Rumble may be Stunt Man, who faces restricted company after a minor stakes win in the More Than Ready and a fifth-place finish in the Grade 2 Jerome Handicap. He does own a win at Aqueduct going seven furlongs.

Three of the eight horses in this race were cross-entered on Saturday, including Smash 'em Sammy, who gets blinkers added.

Staten Island: Waytotheleft back at Big A

Waytotheleft, who reeled off three straight wins last winter/spring at Aqueduct, returns to the Big A for the $75,000 Staten Island Stakes at seven furlongs. Waytotheleft won the Broadway Handicap over the inner track in March, then came back to beat open company in a third-level allowance race over the main track at seven furlongs.

Laurentide Ice is a two-time Stallion Stakes winner, taking the Fifth Avenue here as a 2-year-old and the Cupecoy's Joy at Belmont in June. Laurentide Ice has lost her last three starts, but returns to a one-turn dirt race.

Perfect Arc: Factual Contender looks tough

Factual Contender, who has 3 wins and 3 seconds in her last 6 starts, looms the horse to beat in the $75,000 Perfect Arc Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

After showing speed in most of her turf starts, she has demonstrated the ability to come from off the pace, winning the Dynamic Lisa at Belmont in September and finishing second, a neck behind Rewrite, in the Ticonderoga over soft Belmont turf on Oct. 20.

Artistic Express won this race last year but has failed to finish in the money in seven starts this year. Baby Gray and Hoosick Falls, second and third in this race last year, are back for another try.

Fifth Avenue: Rice enters speedy trio

Linda Rice looks to have the $100,000 Fifth Avenue for 2-year-old fillies surrounded with three of the nine entrants. If they don't get in each other's way, that is.

Noble Fire, Canadian Ballet, and Sweet Bama Breeze all have shown speed in their brief careers. Noble Fire was most impressive winning a five-furlong maiden race by 6 3/4 lengths while earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 82. A daughter of Hook and Ladder, Noble Fire broke from the rail that day and was virtually forced to go. She has the outside post.

Canadian Ballet was a debut winner at Saratoga before finishing second in the Lady Finger Stakes and third in the New York Breeders' Futurity, also at Finger Lakes. Sweet Bama Breeze has finished second in both of her career starts.

Sew Slippery and Ocala Gator loom the best closers in the field.

Great White Way: Can Pletcher end drought?

Trainer Todd Pletcher enters Sunday's card riding an 0 for 15 at Aqueduct and an 0 for 19 overall in New York since winning the second race at Belmont on Oct. 21. Spanky Fischbein will try to end the drought in the $100,000 Great White Way for 2-year-old colts and geldings at six furlongs.

Spanky Fischbein has a win and 3 seconds from 4 starts and comes off a good second to Big Truck in the Bertram F. Bongard at Belmont. He drew the advantageous outside post in the six-horse field. Pletcher also entered Fort Drum, who finished fourth in the Bongard.

* In the $75,000 Smart Angle at six furlongs, Stormy Kiss goes turf to dirt in search of her first win since taking the Grade 2 Honorable Miss on dirt 12 starts ago.