04/17/2008 11:00PM

Naughty New Yorker huge favorite


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - There was an awful lot of drama prior to entry time for Sunday's $75,000 Kings Point Handicap at Aqueduct. The connections of R Clear Victory weren't keen to run if Naughty New Yorker was in the field, and the trainer of Of All Times didn't want to go if R Clear Victory was running.

In the end, Naughty New Yorker and R Clear Victory were two of only five entered in the Kings Point, a 1 1/8-mile race for New York-breds, while Of All Times will sit it out. Perhaps fearing an additional defection, NYRA carded the Kings Point as the third race on the nine-race card, thus keeping it out of the pick six.

Another reason for carding it early is the likelihood that Naughty New Yorker will win the Kings Point at a very short price. A victory in the Kings Point would put Naughty New Yorker over the $1 million mark in career earnings.

Naughty New Yorker has won 4 of the last 5 New York-bred stakes he has run in, the loss being a fourth-place finish in the Empire Classic last October at Belmont. He enters this race off a fifth-place finish behind Temporary Saint in the Grade 3 Excelsior Handicap on April 5. Naughty New Yorker was caught wide in that race and always had Magna Graduate in his way when he tried to make a move.

"He never got a head of steam going," said Pat Kelly, trainer of Naughty New Yorker.

Back with New York-breds, Naughty New Yorker will carry top weight of 124 pounds, conceding 6 to 9 pounds to the other four. He breaks from post 4 under Jean-Luc Samyn.

Without Of All Times in the field, R Clear Victory becomes the lone speed. He was the loose on the lead against Naughty New Yorker in the Master Digby Stakes over Aqueduct's inner track on Feb. 18, but Naughty New Yorker beat him by 12 1/4 lengths anyway.

Though R Clear Victory has yet to run 1 1/8 miles, Toby Sheets, the assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen, feels the longer distance may benefit the gelded son of Victory Gallop.

"He'll be able to relax on his own," Sheets said. "We'll find out."

Tommasi makes his first start since August. Shuffling Maddnes is 0 for 7 since upsetting the Evan Shipman last July. Prince of Peace won the Instant Friendship Stakes over the inner track on March 15.