02/19/2010 12:00AM

Horse-for-course Daily Star steps up

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OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Three lengths behind with a furlong to go, Daily Star looked like she would have to settle for second-best when she ran in a $35,000 claiming race on Jan. 6. But Daily Star persevered under Channing Hill in the final sixteenth to get up by a head over Yo Karakorum.

That was Daily Star's second win from three starts over Aqueduct's inner track. Her connections are hoping Daily Star's affinity for the inner track and the possibility of a hot pace helps her handle a raise in class in Sunday's $42,000 first-level allowance feature at Aqueduct.

Daily Star is coupled with Rock Hall Honey, but with Hill named on both, one will have to be scratched. Tonja Terranova, assistant trainer to her husband, John, said Rock Hall Honey will scratch.

Daily Star has run extremely well fresh. She was a debut winner last February. She won a $25,000 claimer off a 46-day layoff at Belmont in October. Her last victory came off an 80-day freshening. This will be her first start off a 46-day layoff.

"I thought her last race was really good,'' Tonja Terranova said. "She seems to be coming around and she likes the inner track a lot.''

Daily Star also likes Channing Hill, who is 2 for 2 aboard the filly.

"She's kind of a difficult filly to ride; you can't take a hold of her head,'' Terranova said. "Hopefully, there'll be pace up front and she can sit back there and make a nice run.''

Kissa Melissa has finished out of the money in only 5 of 28 lifetime starts, and looms the horse to beat under Ramon Dominguez. She is coupled in the wagering with Spina. Kissa Melissa has been a beaten favorite in three of her last four starts, and though she bobbled at the break of her last race, she still had little excuse when unable to run down Meese Rocks, who did come back to win a New York-bred stakes.

"I thought she should have blown by that filly last time,'' said Mitch Friedman, trainer of Kissa Melissa. "Maybe she got a little tired. She's been going hard for a long time.''

Another contender is Purrfect Bluff, who finished a nose behind Kissa Melissa on Jan. 7, and then came back to run second as the 1-2 favorite in a starter allowance on Jan. 29.

Feverish Flight, Successful Friend, and Georgiana complete the field.