12/10/2008 12:00AM

Jasmine Gardens tackling stakes


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Though Jasmine Gardens is one of the few horses stepping up in class in Friday's $65,000 You'd Be Surprised Stakes at Aqueduct, she also appears to be one of the few with the most upside.

Jasmine Gardens, a 3-year-old daughter of Mineshaft, has won her last two starts for trainer Tom Albertrani, including a first-level allowance by five lengths at Belmont Park on Oct. 23. She has not run in the 50 days since primarily because Albertrani could not find a second-level allowance race to fill.

Jasmine Gardens has run only one bad race in her career, that being a last-place finish behind Skylighter - a subsequent Grade 2 winner - in a maiden race at Belmont in May. That was the first start for Jasmine Gardens after shipping up from Florida.

"It was kind of puzzling that day. I couldn't find any excuses. Maybe she just hadn't settled in as well as I thought," Albertrani said. "She's just come around. I would say it's maturing more than anything. Her last race was very impressive the way she finished."

Albertrani is hoping for an effort good enough that he would feel comfortable shipping Jasmine Gardens south for the winter to compete in stakes at Gulfstream Park.

One logical contender, if she runs, is Weathered, who has won 7 of 11 races, including a six-length victory in the Kamikaze Rick Stakes run over a muddy main track here on Nov. 30. The forecast for heavy rain Thursday into Friday could benefit Weathered, who is 3 for 3 on a wet track.

Trainer Karl Grusmark, however, is also considering running Weathered in Sunday's $75,000 Ladies Handicap. Either way, Weathered will be running for the third time in a month.

"She won that last race pretty easy, come out of that real good," Grusmark said. "She's bouncing around the barn, so we're going to run her again, then she'll probably get a break."

Rite Moment and Runway Rosie combined to win 7 of 11 starts over the inner track last winter, including four stakes. Both enter this race in terrible form, though Rite Moment is getting serious class relief after running in seven consecutive graded stakes. Two of her inner-track wins came over wet surfaces.

Blues for Sale is the mystery horse in this field. She will be making her first start in 13 months and first for trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. and the IEAH Stable.