11/11/2003 12:00AM

This McLaughlin group a hot topic


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Kiaran McLaughlin has made a smooth transition from private to public trainer.

For 10 years, McLaughlin trained privately for the Maktoum family, splitting his year between Dubai and New York. In September, McLaughlin announced he was opening up a public stable. He has built the stable up to about 50 horses, and has continued to win at a high percentage.

McLaughlin won two races on Tuesday's Aqueduct card and is now 3 for 10 at this meet after going 7 for 35 at Belmont.

One owner who is happy he has teamed up with McLaughlin is Joe Allen, for whom McLaughlin has won three graded stakes in three weeks. McLaughlin saddled Randaroo to victory in the Grade 3 Safely Kept Breeders' Cup at Laurel on

Oct. 4 and the Grade 2 First Flight Handicap at Aqueduct on Oct. 25. Randaroo will make her next start in the Grade 2 Top Flight Handicap here on Nov. 28.

McLaughlin's biggest score for Allen, however, came on Oct. 19 when he saddled Volga to a head victory in the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor at Woodbine. McLaughlin will look to keep the good times rolling for Allen on Saturday when he runs Volga in the Grade 2, $150,000 Long Island Handicap at Aqueduct.

McLaughlin also won an allowance race for Allen with the filly Wonder Woman, who was coming off a year layoff because of an injury.

"We've had a great start," McLaughlin said. "You have to pinch yourself to not think you're dreaming. It's a lot of fun doing well, especially for a great owner like him. He deserves to win big races. He puts a lot of money into the game and he really enjoys it.''

For his part, McLaughlin credited Christophe Clement, the previous trainer of Volga, for that mare's success in the $750,000 E.P. Taylor.

"I had her 12 days," McLaughlin said.

"She was doing fine and it was worth taking a shot."

Volga also won the Grade 3 Matchmaker this year at Monmouth Park. She seems to handle soft turf extremely well and figures to get that surface on Saturday.

Volga will be the starting highweight at 120 pounds in the Long Island. Others expected to run include Sixty Seconds (118), Itnab (117), Spice Island (117), Mariensky (116), Primetimevalentine (115), Banyu Dewi (114), Lady of the Future (114), and Goosey Gander (112). Boana and D'Ohana, both assigned 112 pounds, are possible.

In addition to picking up 10 horses for Joe Allen, McLaughlin also has horses for Frank Stronach, West Point Stables, and Richard Englander. He has also retained 15 horses for the Maktoum family.

McLaughlin won Tuesday's opener with Four Alert ($12.40) for Englander and the sixth with Mustanfar ($9.90) for the Maktoum family.

Dutrow readies stakes hopefuls

Trainer Richard Dutrow, off to a sizzling start at the Aqueduct fall meet, hopes his good fortune continues in several upcoming stakes, both here and out of town.

Dutrow will send Aggadan to Maryland for Saturday's Grade 1 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash. Aggadan is coming out of a second-place finish to Ghostzapper in the Grade 1 Vosburgh. After turning in a bullet five-furlong workout at Aqueduct on Sunday, Aggadan was vanned to Maryland on Monday. Aggadan is stabled there with Tony Dutrow, Richard's brother.

Dutrow is also preparing his top New York-bred Well Fancied for a try in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile on Nov. 29. Well Fancied will take on Congaree after winning statebred stakes in his last two starts.

"If everything is right, we can't beat Congaree,'' Dutrow said. "If it rains, then we have a chance to win."

Dutrow also plans to run Stoic in the Grade 3, $100,000 Valley Stream for juvenile fillies on Nov. 23. Stoic is coming off a 2 1/2-length allowance win here on Oct. 31. She is one of nine winners Dutrow has saddled from 26 starters at this meet.

Schwartz runners nearing return

Classic Endeavor and Go Rockin' Robin, two stakes winners trained by Scott Schwartz, are nearing their return to the races.

Classic Endeavor, who won the Grade 3 Excelsior Stakes in April and was beaten a nose in the Stymie, worked five furlongs in 1:03 Tuesday at Aqueduct. Schwartz said he is hoping to get a race into Classic Endeavor before Aqueduct's main track closes on Nov. 30.

Classic Endeavor hasn't run since July 4, when he finished sixth in the Skip Away Stakes at Monmouth Park.

"He needed his batteries recharged," Schwartz said. "He loves the winter."

Go Rockin' Robin won the Grade 2 Peter Pan in May but faltered after that in four stakes. He was turned out for 2 1/2 months and returned to Schwartz's care at the end of October. On Sunday, he breezed three furlongs in 35.73 seconds at Aqueduct.

Schwartz said he would also like to find a race for Go Rockin' Robin before the end of the main-track meet.

Smokume burns up the Big A

Not wanting to leave anything to chance, trainer Allen Jerkens shipped Smokume from Belmont to Aqueduct on Tuesday morning for a four-furlong workout in preparation for Sunday's $75,000 Huntington Stakes.

Smokume breezed four furlongs in 46.27 seconds, the fastest of five workouts by 3.22 seconds. Jockey Shannon Uske was up for the move.

Though Smokume is 3 for 3, Jerkens said he is still immature and wanted Smokume to get familiar with Aqueduct. He plans to send him back later in the week for a schooling session in the paddock.

"I don't do it often, but I'll do it with a young horse," Jerkens said. "He's still a little green. You try to do the right thing."

Smokume, a son of Smoke Glacken, is coming off a 5 1/4-length win in the Cowdin Stakes at Belmont on Oct. 12.

* Jose Santos, who suffered a hairline fracture to three ribs in a spill last Saturday, is named to ride two horses Thursday.