12/29/2004 12:00AM

Lord Langfuhr steps up


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - When Lord Langfuhr ended his 3-year-old campaign with a 10 1/2-length maiden score over the inner track last December, it was a harbinger of things to come.

gets a chance to end a very productive 4-year-old season with his first stakes win on Friday when he faces nine fellow New York-breds in the $75,000 Alex M. Robb Handicap at Aqueduct.

A son of Langfuhr, Lord Langfuhr has 5 wins and 5 seconds from 14 starts this year and has looked very strong beating open-company rivals in his last two starts. He has won four of his last six dirt starts and faces statebred competition on dirt for the first time since May, when he won a second-level allowance race by 4 1/4 lengths.

"This horse has surprised us a lot lately," said Steve Moyer, assistant to trainer Jimmy Jerkens. "Those last two races at Aqueduct were nice races. They were visually impressive. They were the kind of races you were like, 'Whoa, this horse is finishing full of run.' "

Jorge Chavez, aboard for Lord Langfuhr's last two wins, will fly in from Florida to ride.

went 2 for 2 over the inner track last winter, including a victory against open company in the Whirlaway Stakes. He finished in the money in a pair of 3-year-old stakes at Turfway Park before running poorly in the Wood Memorial and Preakness.

Trainer Martin Ciresa said Little Matth Man displaced his palate in the Wood and emerged from the Preakness with a chip in his knee. Following surgery, Little Matth Man returned to the races on Dec. 18, winning a six-furlong allowance at Pimlico by a head. Ciresa said he would have liked more time between that race and this one, but doesn't seem too concerned about the quick turnaround.

"I was looking for him to be a little tired the next day, but he wasn't," Ciresa said. "I'm hoping that he doesn't bounce."

Stewart Elliott rides Little Matth Man.

Both Lord Langfuhr and Little Matth Man would benefit from a hot pace. Rogue Agent, now back in the barn of Michael Brice, is the main speed, while Halo Malone figures to be his company.

is winless in his last 20 starts, but often runs well enough in this company to be a factor in the exotics. Pa Pa Da has improved with blinkers and has shown the ability to handle dirt. Stellianos has won three straight and is 5 for 15 over the inner track.