01/06/2004 1:00AM

Green Jeans' best yet to show


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Green Jeans may be the least accomplished of the 10 fillies and mares being considered for Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 Affectionately Handicap at Aqueduct, but she also may be the one with the most potential.

Green Jeans, a 5-year-old daughter of Green Dancer, seemed on her way to stakes competition last year, winning three of five starts. All three wins came over Aqueduct's inner track, including two-length scores in second and third-level allowance races. Overall, Green Jeans is 4 for 9.

But shortly after finishing fourth in a classified allowance race in April, Green Jeans underwent surgery to have chips taken out of a knee. With Green Jeans basically out of allowance conditions, trainer Billy Turner had little choice than to point her to the Affectionately, run at 1 1/16 miles.

Green Jeans has a history of running well off a layoff. In March 2002, she won her maiden by 6 1/2 lengths off a four-month layoff. Last January, she won an allowance race off a seven-month freshening.

"That's always been her," said Turner, noting that myriad infirmities have limited Green Jeans' starts. "We've been very conservative with her. But she always runs with a touch of class. We hope to get a stakes-placing or a stakes win, then everybody would be happy."

Turner trains Green Jeans for the Virginia-based owner/breeder Althea Richards.

Green Jeans shows several stamina-building works for her return. On Tuesday, she worked five furlongs in 1:02.65 over Belmont's training track. Turner said Green Jeans worked a "useful" mile Christmas week, but the move was done early in the morning and was not caught by track clockers.

"It's not as if she hasn't been training very well," Turner said. "As long as she stays sound and she's training well we'll race her this year. She's training forwardly and we have hopes for her."

As of Tuesday, Turner had not yet secured a rider for Green Jeans, who gets in with 112 pounds. Others expected to run, and their weight assignments, are Message Red (116), Queen's Triomphe (114), River Cruise (113), Austin's Mom (113), and Golden Damsel (112). Trainer Mark Hennig is expected to run either Consort Music (112) or Call an Audible (112). City Fire (113) and Shop Till You Drop (112) are also possible.

Migliore frequently flying high

Jockey Richard Migliore is racking up the frequent flyer miles this winter and also is making frequent trips to the winner's circle.

With 20 wins from 75 mounts, Migliore is the leading rider at Aqueduct's inner-track meeting. He has done this while missing several days to ride in stakes events in south Florida. On Dec. 27, Migliore won the Grade 2 La Prevoyante Handicap at Calder aboard Volga. He returned to New York the next day to win the Alex M. Robb Handicap aboard Salute Him.

Last Sunday, Migliore was back in south Florida and won another stakes, guiding Millennium Dragon to victory in the Grade 2 Appleton Handicap at Gulfstream Park.

After working horses at Palm Meadows on Tuesday, Migliore was headed to the airport to return to New York, where he will ride through Saturday, before returning to Gulfstream on Sunday to ride Harmony Lodge in the First Lady Handicap.

"When you come down and ride nice horses it makes it easier and certainly worthwhile," Migliore said. "I'm getting the best of both worlds right now. I'm living in my home and riding nice horses at Aqueduct and get to come down here once a week and ride nice horses."

He rode both Millennium Dragon and Volga for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.

Migliore said he was "really happy" that trainer Todd Pletcher and owner Eugene Melnyk left him on Harmony Lodge, a filly on whom Migliore won the Grade 1 Ballerina last summer. Migliore is also looking forward to the following weekend when he's expected to ride Sleepy Hollow Stakes winner Friends Lake in the Holy Bull Stakes on Jan. 17 and Artie Schiller in the Dave Feldman Stakes on the 18th.

Speaking of Friends Lake, Migliore said, "I think he's a colt that has all the ingredients to be a good horse. He's bred to be a good horse, he looks like a good horse; the way he won the Sleepy Hollow he was all man. He was in tight and when he got out he just overpowered them."

Salty Rocket in open feature

Two of Migliore's 20 wins at this meet have come for Maryland-based trainer Tony Dutrow, who may have the right horse in Thursday's featured sprint for fillies and mares who have not won two races lifetime.

Salty Rocket will be making her first start for Dutrow after going 1 for 5 when in the care of Michael Gorham. Salty Rocket won her maiden at Monmouth Park in September, then finished last as the favorite in an entry-level allowance at Delaware Park. In that Oct. 22 race, she bobbled at the break and was further off the pace than she had been before.

With a clean break, Salty Rocket figures to be forwardly placed. Dutrow wins at a 53-percent clip with horses making their first start for him, and he is also accomplished off an extended layoff.

Atlanta Rose ran well over the inner track last winter and makes her return to the races off a seven-month layoff for trainer Joe Imperio. With Chuck Lopez, an inside post, and a bullet gate work, Atlanta Rose looms the one to catch. Crafty Move and Notmyfault are also contenders in a wide-open race.