01/19/2005 12:00AM

My Request looks toughest


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - drew the outside post, but still looks like the one to beat in Friday's feature, a third-level allowance with a $48,000 purse and an optional claiming price of $65,000.

A field of seven older males entered the 1 1/16-mile route, including the Sunny Meadow Farm entry of Stellianos and Limero, who scored upset wins at 8-1 and 20-1 on back-to-back days here last month for trainer Mitchell Friedman.

My Request, 8, will be making his 62nd career start. He was claimed out of three consecutive starts in the second half of a 12-race campaign last year, and closed out the season on the upswing for current trainer Gary Contessa. He won a $65,000 claiming mile on the main track five days after Contessa claimed him, and returned four weeks later to run a clear second behind Tales of Glory, a sharp speed horse from the Todd Pletcher barn who is being pointed to Saturday's Grade 3 Aqueduct Handicap.

Freshened for seven weeks since running three straight Beyer Speed Figures in the mid-90's, My Request is a capable stalker who should be able to secure good early position just off Cuba, a 4-year-old who has won all three of his routes on the inner track dating back to a maiden victory last February.

Cuba lost five starts in a row after that maiden win, but returned from a short layoff at the turn of the year to win his first- and second-level allowance conditions for trainer Tom Bush, whose 11-for-29 start places him among the top percentage trainers on the circuit.

Cuba and the other 4-year-old in the field, Golden Gator, are the only entrants not entered for the $65,000 claiming price.

Turn Back the Time, 7, and Loving, 9, are each two-time winners on the inner track, and capable of winning this race on their best day.

Turn Back the Time has been idle since winning for a $65,000 tag on Memorial Day, but has turned in a series of long workouts for trainer Steve Klesaris, and drew the rail for his return.

Loving was odds-on in a starter handicap on a sloppy track last month, but failed to fire and trudged home fifth, nearly 18 lengths behind Limero. He topped this field in wins (5) and earnings ($214,000) last year, and might rebound quickly, especially if the track is fast.

Limero and his entrymate Stellianos emerge from off-the-board efforts in stakes, but could make their presence felt based on their penultimate performances.