08/04/2008 11:00PM

McAleney, Asmussen team up

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Nearing the halfway point of the Woodbine meeting, Jim McAleney holds a substantial lead in the rider standings, a remarkable feat when you consider that he missed most of 2007 because of a broken leg that he suffered just before last year's meeting kicked off.

Trainer Steve Asmussen has supplied McAleney with 20 winners from 92 starters here this year. They will team up twice on Thursday's card, in the second with The Debonair Slew and in the third with Aldous.

The Debonair Slew wound up second under McAleney in a $20,000 claimer on May 28. After finishing far back against $25,000 opposition three weeks later, he was shipped to Presque Isle Downs, where he was beaten a neck in a $15,000 route for nonwinners-of-two stock.

The Debonair Slew drops to the basement Thursday and should enjoy the 1 1/16-mile distance of the $12,500 event.

Aldous should be well backed in the third, a $20,000 conditioned claimer. After shipping in from Lone Star, Aldous finished a distant third for $16,000 and then ran second in a $20,000 contest. Both races were won by a razor-sharp Joannie Not Jo.

"I knew him better in his last race, and I thought he showed tremendous improvement," McAleney said of Aldous.

McAleney believes his association with Asmussen and assistant trainer Steve Flint has been a huge boost for him.

"It's been great publicity for me," McAleney said. "When the leading trainer in North America shows you some support, I think people stand up and take notice of that."

McAleney will ride Mazel Star for high-percentage trainer Terry Jordan in the seventh, a $32,000 claimer for 3-year-old fillies. The Hastings ex-patriot was beaten a nose after leading most of the way against $40,000 opposition in her local debut.

McAleney has recorded 12 wins with just 29 mounts this year for Jordan, an association that is due in large part to McAleney's agent, Danny Williams, who has close ties to Jordan.

"With Terry Jordan, they all come over with the intention to win, and that's how I ride for him," McAleney said.

McAleney also will pilot Loula in the opener for trainer Ron Sadler, and Giant Gambit in the eighth for trainer Reade Baker.