03/20/2003 1:00AM

Penn mare gets ambitious


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Trainer John McCaslin said he anticipates trying Run for Joy in graded stakes company at some point this year. Since an allowance race at Penn National didn't fill for Saturday, that time could be Sunday in the Grade 3, $100,000 Next Move Handicap at Aqueduct.

Run for Joy, a 7-year-old daughter of Geiger Counter, has won 10 of 15 starts for McCaslin and owner Eric Fral since they claimed her for $40,000 in January 2000. She has won her last four starts by open lengths, though three of them have come in allowance company at Penn National.

"Winning is a lot more fun than running second or third and it doesn't matter where it is,'' said McCaslin, who is winning races at a 30 percent clip this year.

McCaslin said what attracted him to Run for Joy was her versatility.

"She goes short, she goes long, mud, sleet, snow, slop,'' McCaslin said. "She's a horse that gives you 100 percent all the time and she's handsome.''

Run for Joy has 15 wins, 10 seconds, and 7 thirds from 43 career starts. Her Beyer Speed Figures in three of her last four starts match up well with probable Next Move favorite Smok'n Frolic. Run for Joy will also get seven pounds from Smok'n Frolic, a multiple graded stakes winner.

McCaslin said Orlando Bocachica, who has ridden the mare in her last four starts, would come in for the ride.

Iron Deputy returns Saturday

Iron Deputy, unraced since stumbling and falling in the stretch of last summer's Jim Dandy Stakes, makes his return to the races Saturday in a third-level allowance race at seven furlongs.

Iron Deputy, who won the Huntington Stakes at 2 and the Count Fleet Stakes at 3, was not seriously injured in the Jim Dandy. He developed a quarter crack, however, that forced him to scratch out of the Pennsylvania Derby on Labor Day.

Trainer Jimmy Jerkens said he was unable to patch the quarter crack effectively so he just gave the horse time off to let the foot grow out. Iron Deputy was out of training for three months before returning to the track in January.

"The foot seems to be real good, knock on wood,'' Jerkens said. "He's worked a bunch of times and we haven't seemed to have any problem with it.''

Iron Deputy shows a series of fast steady workouts for his return, but must overcome the rail post in his return.

On paper, the race appears to set up well for Iron Deputy as Reason to Hail and Conman Cunningham look as though they may duel early.

Kissin Saint ready to race

After overcoming some trouble to win an entry-level allowance race on Feb. 8, Kissin Saint appeared on his way to developing into one of the better 3-year-olds stabled on the grounds.

But the harsh winter weather and a leg infection set him back to the point where he only had his second workout since that race on Thursday. With jockey Richard Migliore in the irons, Kissin Saint breezed five furlongs in 1:01.60 over Belmont's training track.

Trainer Lisa Lewis, who claimed Kissin Saint for $50,000 on Jan. 12 for Peter Karches and Michael Rankowitz, said the horse developed a leg infection that sidelined him for a week. After Kissin Saint breezed, however, Lewis said: "It doesn't seem like he's gone back too far. He did it easily, finished well and galloped out strong.''

Lewis said she hasn't picked out a race for Kissin Saint, but hopes to find one soon.

* Gary Contessa won his second consecutive inner track trainer's title, 29-26, over Richard Dutrow Jr. Javier Castellano was the inner track's leading rider with 76 wins. Richard Migliore was second with 66.

* Apprentice jockey Luis Chavez was fined $1,000 by the stewards "for using extremely poor judgment'' aboard Lehigh Grad in Wednesday's ninth race. Chavez stood up on Lehigh Grad about 70 yards from the wire, which cost his horse second place in the race.