10/03/2004 11:00PM

Mogador favored in tough spot

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ELMONT, N.Y. - Mogador could have been a live longshot in Saturday's $350,000 Kelso Breeders' Cup Handicap at Belmont Park. Instead, he will be the horse to beat in Wednesday's $60,000 Elusive Quality, an overnight stakes for horses that haven't won a turf stakes in 2003-04.

, a 4-year-old son of Danzig trained by Christophe Clement, heads a competitive 10-horse field entered in the Elusive Quality, which, like the Kelso, will be contested at one mile on Belmont's Widener Turf Course.

Mogador overcame some trouble entering the first turn to win a third-level allowance race at Saratoga on Travers Day. It was his fourth victory from eight starts; all four wins have come at one mile. Mogador is 2 for 3 at Belmont, including a head win here in June.

Following that victory, Mogador twice finished second, once when Jose Santos may have moved prematurely and again when he was simply outfooted by Hotstufanthensome, a winner of three of his last four starts.

Mogador is best when the rider can "leave him alone and make one run," Clement said. "This is not an easy race. Handicapping-wise, I think this is a great race."

set a Saratoga course record Aug. 5, when winning a one-mile fourth-level allowance race in 1:33.42 over the inner turf. He came back 23 days later and finished eighth in the Grade 2 Fourstardave Handicap.

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said the Fourstardave might have been "a little quick back" for L'Oiseau d'Argent, who was further compromised by an outside post and some early pace pressure in the two-turn race.

L'Oiseau d'Argent is again drawn on the outside, but this race is a one-turn race, and there doesn't appear to be much speed. Richard Migliore rides.

"The post position is a negative to some," said trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. "Here it's going to be a positive for us because he's not good in the gate and he'll be loaded last. Hopefully, he drops over and saves ground after he makes the lead."

came off a seven-month layoff to win a second-level allowance race at Saratoga July 31 before finishing third Aug. 28, beaten only a neck behind Mogador. Trainer Jimmy Toner had entered Sir Walter Rahy in a few allowance races that didn't fill and one that did fill but was too long for him.

is a graded stakes winner, but those wins came two years ago. He comes off a second in a $100,000 claiming race at Saratoga on Aug. 28.