03/18/2002 12:00AM

Griffinite tops tough allowance


JAMAICA, N.Y. - Though short fields abound, Wednesday's nine-race card at Aqueduct includes four allowance races topped by a third-level condition featuring a meeting between stakes-winning Griffinite and multiple stakes-placed Voodoo.

The $47,000 allowance feature at seven furlongs could serve as a prep for the Grade 1 Carter Handicap on April 13. That race recently lost top candidates Squirtle Squirt and Wrangler to various ailments.

Griffinite has had his share of infirmities before and since winning the Grade 3 Lafayette Stakes at Keeneland last April. Officially, that was his last victory. However, he did finish first at this same level and at the same distance in early December here only to be disqualified and placed fourth for bearing out leaving the starting gate.

Griffinite's performance that day encouraged his connections to try bigger and better things, starting with the Grade 1 Malibu Handicap at Santa Anita on Dec. 26. He was bumped at the break by another horse and found himself 12th out of 13 early en route to a 10th-place finish.

He shipped to New Orleans following that race and finished last in the Mardi Gras Handicap on Feb. 12, his first start on turf.

The two bad races did not seem to have an adverse effect on Griffinite, who on Sunday worked four furlongs in 47.02 seconds over the main track, the fastest of 13 works at the distance.

"He seems to like this track real well," Lundy said. "He's training better now than he trained here the last time."

With rain in the forecast for Wednesday, Griffinite may have to deal with an offtrack. When he finished a well-beaten fourth in the Leonard Richards Stakes at Delaware Park over a wet-fast track, Griffinite was suffering from hives.

Beyond the rain, Griffinite's biggest test figures to come from Voodoo. Trainer Jimmy Jerkens scratched Voodoo out of Saturday's Toboggan Handicap for this spot. Voodoo had an extremely wide trip while finishing fifth in the General George Handicap, a race from which the second- and third-place finishers came back to win stakes last weekend.

Voodoo should be helped by his outside draw in the five-horse field and he figures to be sitting just off probable pacesetter Max Jones. Voodoo finished third to eventual Grade 1 winner Songandaprayer in the 2000 Huntington Stakes, his only race over a wet track.

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