11/20/2003 1:00AM

Macaw could snap 11-race losing streak


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - It stopped raining in New York at 10 a.m. Thursday, and two hours later the sun burst through the clouds, giving racing officials hope that Saturday's Grade 2, $150,000 Red Smith Handicap would remain on the turf.

Pity, too. It was shaping up as a more intriguing race on dirt, with Evening Attire and Snake Mountain prepared to square off.

Instead, handicappers must decipher the inconsistent form of 12 runners whose combined record in 2003 is 12 for 89. The Red Smith, run at 1 3/8 miles, is the last turf stakes scheduled in New York this year.

The Red Smith may not be Macaw's last chance to win a race this year, but it may be his best chance. Macaw is 0 for 11 since coming to this country from Europe in the summer of 2002, and he is 0 for 8 this year. But he has run several races that would make him the winner in the 44th Red Smith.

In July, Macaw was beaten less than a length in the Grade 2 Bowling Green, and one month later he finished a hard-charging second in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer. After a dull effort in the Man o' War, Macaw was again beaten less than a length in the Grade 1 Canadian International.

"He's improved every time he's run, but I would like for him to win one of these," trainer Barclay Tagg said. "He's dogged and resolute in his running, which are very good traits to have. The main thing is to find a long race for him."

Macaw, who has had issues with his feet, does his best running over soft or yielding turf.

"I think he likes it to take the sting out of his feet," Tagg said.

Macaw breaks from post 5 under Shaun Bridgmohan and carries 118 pounds.

Balto Star, who won the Grade 1 United Nations Handicap at Monmouth this year, is the 120-pound highweight. But, trainer Todd Pletcher is not thrilled with the prospect of running him over soft ground. If Balto Star does run, he most likely will find pace pressure from Maryland shipper Royal Regalia.

Cetewayo won the 2000 Red Smith and finished last in the 2001 edition. Now 9, Cetewayo is winless in eight starts since July 2002, but his best race in that period came over yielding turf. Trainer Michael Dickinson is 0 for 22 in New York since July 10, 2002.

Revved Up is 2 for 2 at Aqueduct and is proven at a distance. Quiet Ruler is 3 for 6 at Aqueduct and has won two stakes over soft ground.