03/25/2004 12:00AM

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OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Surely that old feeling of excitement will wash over me once the racing season really gets into high gear in May.

Here and now, though, things are pretty grim for horseplayers in general, and they are especially grim if you're a regular at Aqueduct.

Oh sure, we're just another 10 days or so from the first 2-year-old dash of the season here in New York.

And hey, the first turf race is in the condition book is only a week from Friday.

Right now, though, the fields are a) cheap, b) small, c) uninteresting, and d) all of the above.

The procession of chalk is getting relentless. Bad chalk, at that.

Welcome spring!

The saving grace, I guess, is that I'm not assigned to the national beat covering what passes for this year's Triple Crown trail.

Can you remember a more disheartening roster of contenders?

Eurosilver is numero uno on Daily Racing Form's Derby Watch list.

Eurosilver. The last time I saw Eurosilver in action he was under the whip and going nowhere midway on the turn of the Swale.

Right behind Eurosilver is Lion Heart. The Santa Anita Derby will be the second and final Derby prep this year for Lion Heart.

Lots of luck with that.

Ranked fourth is Master David, who is looking better and better with each passing week.

You know why Master David is looking better and better with each passing week? Because for the past two months, in each week that passes, he hasn't been running.

Trivia question: When was the last time the Florida Derby winner (Friends Lake) was ranked 15th?

Birdstone was ranked second last week. Now he is back to 12th.

Sort of like his running line in the Lane's End.

Could Birdstone have run any worse? Perhaps. Like if someone had been hiding in the gate and hit him over the head with a frying pan.

Maybe someone should have.

Birdstone must be a great horse, though, because now they want $2 million for his conqueror, the mighty Sinister G.

That's pretty funny.

Hey, maybe Godolphin will call.

According to the trainers of Friends Lake and Read the Footnotes, those horses might already have had their final Derby prep races.

Nice to get those pesky things out of the way.

This means, of course, that Friends Lake and Read the Footnotes would be coming into Louisville off seven-week layoffs.

Which is something that hasn't worked terribly well for, oh, the last half-century or so.

Here's a thought: Why don't all the contenders just train right up to the Derby?

After that, everyone except the Derby winner will pass the Preakness and just train right up to the Breeders' Cup Classic.

Then Daily Racing Form could start its workout reports for the Breeders' Cup, say, around Memorial Day.

Yes, the BC at Lone Star should be a blast this year, what with Medaglia d'Oro and Pleasantly Perfect chasing $6 million in Dubai on Saturday. (Amazing the harm's way people will put themselves and their horses into if enough money is involved.) After that, Medaglia d'Oro and Pleasantly Perfect may just train up to the Classic.

They should both maintain a sharp edge all the way to Lone Star, don't you think?

Oh well, don't despair. I read where Candy Ride had a workout. Won't be long now.

And you know what? Maybe Toccet will get things going.

Toccet's last six starts have come at six different distances on turf and dirt, so he should be just about set for the Breeders' Cup Anything.

All I know is, right now there is only one Thoroughbred that any long-time observer of the breed should have any use for.

Go, Best Mate, go!