11/23/2004 12:00AM

Highweight offers virtual smorgasbord


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - There may be only one item on the menu for your Thanksgiving Day meal, but there is variety aplenty when it comes to Thursday's Grade 3, $100,000 Fall Highweight Handicap at Aqueduct.

Connoisseurs of speed may opt for Medallist, Primary Suspect, or the pace-pressing Friendly Island. Those who prefer a strong late kick will lean toward Bwana Charlie or possibly the longshot Dubai Sheikh. If none of those whet your appetite, there are six other flavors from which to choose in the Grade 3 Fall Highweight at six furlongs.

successfully carried his speed one mile in the Grade 3 Withers here in May and 1 1/16 miles in the Grade 2 Dwyer at Belmont in July. His season deteriorated from there with next-to-last-place finishes in the Jim Dandy and King's Bishop.

Medallist bore out badly in the King's Bishop. He missed the fall with a quarter crack, which precluded Jerkens from having him ready for Saturday's Grade 1 Cigar Mile. A strong four-furlong workout over the main track on Tuesday indicates that Medallist is ready to go six furlongs. Nevertheless, he will likely have to deal with early pressure from Primary Suspect, Uncle Cammie, or Max's Buddy.

is the starting highweight at 137 pounds under Stewart Elliott. Bwana Charlie won the Grade 2 Amsterdam going six furlongs at Saratoga in August. Most recently, he finished a hard-charging fourth - 2 1/2 lengths behind Speightstown - despite a wide trip in the Breeders' Cup Sprint.

Steve Asmussen, who has set a single-year record for most wins by a trainer, believes that Bwana Charlie is built for the Fall Highweight.

"He's not big, he's huge," he said. "He's very physical. There's a lot to him and I think we want to take advantage of that."

has won 5 of 6 career starts, including a sharp front-running victory when breaking from the rail in the Hudson Handicap for New York-breds. Two back, he sat off another horse, dead-heating for win in an open company allowance race. Friendly Island drew the rail again Thursday, however, and may have to go.

Papua, third to Friendly Island in the Hudson, finished second in this race last year.