10/25/2004 11:00PM

'Kissin' does best right here

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OZONE PARK, N.Y. - The horse-for-course theory gets tested right away on openinbg day of the Aqueduct meet, when Kissin Saint - who has won at the Big A and nowhere else in his 14-race career - takes on four rivals in an optional claiming route.

The 1 1/8-mile race is for older horses who have not won a race of a mile or longer this year, except claiming or restricted races, or those who have not won four "other than." Two entrants, Limero and Full Flow, have been entered for the $100,000 claiming price.

, now 4, was claimed for $50,000 out of a 14-length maiden win on the inner dirt track two winters ago and has earned the price back several times over for trainer Lisa Lewis.

From three starts on the Aqueduct main track, Kissin Saint has posted his three best Beyer Speed Figures: back-to-back figures of 98 in early spring of his 3-year-old season, including in a third-place finish in the Wood Memorial, and a huge 108 winning a third-level allowance when last seen here in early April.

Kissin Saint subsequently returned from a five-month layoff to finish off the board at Saratoga on closing day, and a month later was similarly dull beating just one rival in the Grade 2 Hawthorne Gold Cup.

Kissin Saint, who breaks from the outside in a field of five, should appreciate the drop in class and a return to his favorite venue. He will be reunited with jockey Javier Castellano, who has been aboard for 3 of his 4 lifetime victories.

is stretching out for trainer Allen Jerkens after running in a pair of six-furlong sprints at Belmont's fall meet, the first of which was a come-again score for a $75,000 claiming price on opening day, which earned him a career-best Beyer Figure of 105. Run back for $100,000 three weeks later, Private City raced inside on a day when horses in outer paths had the advantage, and finished third in a four-horse field.

Breaking from the rail with Pablo Fragoso, Private City appears likely to set the early pace, and he has won at this distance before.

In between Private City and Kissin Saint, in post position order, are Limero, Trapped Again, and Full Flow.