11/10/2007 1:00AM

Postponement gives Barancella a chance

Four-Footed Fotos
Beverly D. winner Royal Highness (left) will be retired after she runs in Sunday's Long Island.
OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Eight days and a bit of rain have changed the complexion of the Grade 3, $150,000 Long Island Handicap which will be run Sunday at Aqueduct after being postponed when the Nov. 3 card was scrapped due to high winds.

The Long Island, run at 1 1/2 miles on turf, is one of eight stakes on a nine-race card. Six of the stakes are for progeny of New York-based stallions.

While the seven original entrants from the Long Island are all back, the extra eight days prompted trainer Bobby Frankel to enter Barancella, who immediately becomes a player despite having never won a graded stakes. If a sufficient amount of rain were to fall by Saturday morning as forecasted, Barancella could become an even bigger player if the turf is soft Sunday.

Barancella ran two of her best races on soft ground. She was beaten a length or less in the 2005 and 2006 runnings of the E.P. Taylor at Woodbine. Barancella comes out of a third-place finish in the Grade 1, $1 million E.P. Taylor on Oct. 21, a race in which she lost a shoe, according to Frankel.

Though she has yet to win a graded event, Barancella has earned $727,172 for owner Gary Tanaka, who also sends out Rising Cross.

"She's been Grade 1 stakes-placed so many times," Frankel said of Barancella. "If she could win this race she'd be retired."

Win or lose, the Grade 1 winner Royal Highness will be retired and bred following the Long Island. Royal Highness, who finished second in this race last year, won the Grade 1 Beverly D. in August. She comes off a sixth-place finish in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational run over a firm Belmont turf course on Sept. 29.

Christophe Clement, trainer of Royal Highness, said his filly came out of that race sore and needed some time off. She figures to benefit from the extra eight days as well as some give in the ground.

"A lot of rain would be wonderful," Clement said. "She had a very good work last weekend."

The connections of Dalvina would prefer a good to firm turf course. Dalvina, a 3-year-old daughter of Grand Lodge trained by Ed Dunlop, has twice finished third in Group 2 stakes in Europe.

"She was spot-on last week, to be honest," said Robin Trevor Jones, the assistant to Dunlop. "We just cantered into the race. She had a little breeze [Thursday], but she's done everything right. She seems in real good [shape]."

Dalvina will race on Lasix for the first time while breaking from post 3 under Cornelio Velasquez.