04/17/2005 11:00PM

Good run brings Aggadan right back


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Wednesday's feature race at Aqueduct could be used as a stepping-stone to either the Westchester or Bold Ruler, graded handicap races run during the opening week of the Belmont Park meet.

If Aggadan runs well in Wednesday's $56,000 optional claiming race, and Mother Nature cooperates with enough rain Saturday - showers are in the forecast - to transfer the Grade 3 Fort Marcy Handicap to the dirt, trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. said he plans to wheel Aggadan right back in the Fort Marcy.

"I like the two-, three-, or four-day thing," Dutrow said.

First things first, however. looks well spotted to return to the winner's circle on Wednesday. After ending his 5-year-old season with a pair of Maryland-bred stakes victories at Pimlico, Aggadan was an unlucky loser of two open stakes over Aqueduct's inner track.

In both the Aqueduct and Stymie handicaps, Aggadan suffered narrow losses while spotting his rivals significant weight. Wednesday, Aggadan will be cutting back to a one-turn mile after running around two turns in both those stakes. On Monday, Aggadan blew out three furlongs in 35.81 seconds over Aqueduct's main track.

"I know he likes a mile. That's part of his game," Dutrow said. "He's doing really good. He's going to run good."

In the Aqueduct, Aggadan was beaten three-quarters of a length by Country Be Gold, who is entered back in this spot. Country Be Gold seems better suited to longer races around two turns, and must carry top weight of 124 pounds.

In an effort to take some weight off Aggadan, Dutrow has named the five-pound apprentice Channing Hill to ride. Hill's 18 wins have him tied for second at this meet.

, a multiple Group 1 winner in Argentina, may be the one to beat. Contante finished third behind Badge of Silver and Dynever in the Grade 3 Hal's Hope Handicap at Gulfstream on Jan. 8 before finishing fifth in the Gulfstream Park Handicap on March 5.

Trainer Stanley Hough said Contante bled in the Gulfstream Park Handicap. Hough prefers to race Contante at longer distances, but said this was a good spot to regroup.

"This is the race that came up, and I think he's back to doing well," he said. "We expect a very good effort."

Like Contante, Kennel Up drops back into allowance company after a couple of poor stakes efforts. Trainer Allen Jerkens said Kennel Up prefers to be forwardly placed, and he figures to be sent from the rail. Mike Hushion, who is 10 for 26 at the meet, sends out Jets Fan.