03/15/2007 11:00PM

Indian Vale's layoff ends


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Trainer Todd Pletcher waited a long time to get Indian Vale back to the races.

He had to wait two additional days after Friday's program at Aqueduct was canceled because of a snowstorm, further delaying the return of the multiple graded stakes-winning mare.

The postponed Friday feature, the $65,000 Lucky Lucky Lucky Stakes for fillies and mares who have not won a stakes in 2007, now tops the Big A's Sunday card. Indian Vale launches her comeback against five rivals in the mile and 70-yard race.

The 5-year-old has not run since May when she suffered a right ankle injury in the Shuvee Handicap at Belmont Park, her lone start in 2006.

Indian Vale was a leading 3-year-old in 2005, winning 5 of 6 starts, including stakes wins in the Grade 3 Turnback the Alarm at Aqueduct and the Grade 2 Falls City at Churchill Downs.

That stakes experience makes her a solid favorite in the Lucky Lucky Lucky.

Gary Contessa, Aqueduct's leading trainer, will try for an upset with Daytime Promise.

"Obviously, we are facing a great horse from Pletcher," Contessa said. "We're really going to have to step up our game to win the race. I'm just hoping it breaks our way."

Contessa remained committed to the race, even with Indian Vale in the redrawn field.

"I learned early on in this business that you can't go into a race fearing one horse," Contessa said. "If you fear three, you should be thinking about running elsewhere. That horse could have a turn of bad luck. I think I am clearly second choice in the race, and hopefully one day I can say, 'We beat Indian Vale.' "

Daytime Promise is a confirmed closer who hit the board in all three of her starts at Aqueduct this year, including a second in the Rare Treat Handicap and a third in the Lady on the Run Stakes.

"She's an amazing filly who shows up every time," Contessa said. "She's a bridesmaid more than she's a bride, but she just keeps bolstering her value as a broodmare."

Like Indian Vale, Veneti makes her season debut in this spot.

A 4-year-old trained by Tom Albertrani, Veneti is the least experienced runner in the race, with only five starts, three of them wins. She closed out her 2006 campaign with consecutive allowance wins at Aqueduct.

Game Card, by contrast, is a hard-knocking 6-year-old making her 36th start. Samsincharge and Ring True complete the field.