11/12/2009 12:00AM

Main track angle looms big


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Leery the race would go with only three of the five entered horses, New York Racing Association officials scrapped Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 Stuyvesant Handicap at Aqueduct. But there will still be a nine-race card, with the feature being a first-level allowance race for New York-breds scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

The likelihood of the race remaining on the turf is remote, however, with between an inch and two inches of rain forecast for Friday lingering into Saturday. Thus, it may be best to peruse the list of main-track only entrants when trying to decipher the featured eighth race. If the race is moved to the dirt, it will be run at one mile.

Saginaw and Star of New York look to be the two best of the five horses entered for the main track.

Saginaw, trained by Chad Brown, won an off-the-turf maiden race here going a mile on Oct. 28 by 11 1/2 lengths. His last three starts have come on sloppy tracks, having finished second twice before his maiden victory.

Star of New York, trained by Gary Contessa, has never finished worse than third in 10 career starts, though he has only one victory to his credit. That came on Sept. 27 at Belmont, in a six-furlong off-the-turf maiden race, which he won by eight lengths.

After that victory, Star of New York twice finished second in this condition, including a three-length loss to Pegasian here on Nov. 5. In that race, Star of New York pressed the pace established by Fiddlers Patriot, lost position entering the far turn, and had to wait for room at the quarter pole before re-rallying to be second.

Contessa is hopeful that Channing Hill, who rode Star of New York that day and who will most likely ride him back, learned something about the horse that day.

"I'll figure he improves with the knowledge of the horse," Contessa said.

Contessa said running Star of New York back in nine days is not a concern.

"I don't look at the days, I look at the horse," Contessa said. "The horse looks great, it's on a surface that he loves at a distance that he loves. My intentions are to try and steal the race."

If the race stays on the turf, the Tom Bush-trained coupled entry of Structural Change and Ranger James looks formidable.