08/30/2004 12:00AM

Golden Damsel likely fave


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Golden Damsel, a stakes winner previously trained by Gary Contessa, makes her first start for new connections in Wednesday's $65,000-added Saratoga Dew at Saratoga.

The Saratoga Dew, a 1 1/8-mile dirt race for New York-bred fillies and mares, drew seven runners.

Despite having not raced since March, is the most accomplished horse in the Saratoga Dew, and therefore the likely favorite.

After finishing last as the favorite in the restricted Broadway Stakes in March at Aqueduct, the 5-year-old Golden Damsel was purchased by John Wieczorek as a broodmare prospect. Wieczorek sent Golden Damsel to the farm for a freshening for several weeks before giving the mare to Jim Bond to train. Wieczorek plans on breeding her next year.

Bond said he heard that Golden Damsel bled in the Broadway. Outside of that poor performance, Golden Damsel has run some very solid races, including a 9 3/4-length win in last year's Bouwerie at Belmont Park and a second in the Grade 3 Affectionately at Aqueduct in January.

This will be Golden Damsel's first start at Saratoga. She was schooled in the paddock here on Monday before the races.

"I had hoped to run her in an off-the-turf race about three weeks ago, but it stayed on the grass," Bond said. "She's had a couple of six-furlong works and hopefully will be ready. She acts like a classy horse in the mornings."

Edgar Prado, who won five races on Saturday's Travers card, has the mount on Golden Damsel from post 3. Golden Damsel has been on or close to the lead in her previous two-turn races.

, who won the East View Stakes at Aqueduct in December, has been in good form this summer. She is coming off a win in a second-level allowance race here in the mud at the Saratoga Dew distance.

John Velazquez, the leading rider at the meet, has the mount on Leedle Dee, who has played the role of pacesetter in her last three starts. She drew post 6.

has a fondness for Belmont's main track, where her last three wins have come. She is without a win in two starts at Saratoga.

Fait Accompli, Sicilian Princess, Cat's Roar, and Esther's Star complete the field.