04/22/2007 11:00PM

Problem filly worth the wait

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OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Hot Property didn't make it to the races until this, her 4-year-old season. Thus far, she has proven to be well worth the wait.

Wednesday, Hot Property leaves the cozy confines of Maryland for her stakes debut at Aqueduct in the $65,000 Chieftain's Command for fillies and mares who have yet to win a graded event. A field of five was entered for the 1 1/8-mile race.

According to trainer Barclay Tagg, Hot Property had several infirmities in her youth. In fact, when he received a call from owner Robert Evans inquiring if Tagg would like to train Hot Property, the filly was on a van from an equine clinic.

But when Tagg finally got Hot Property to the races, she didn't disappoint, rallying from 12 lengths off the pace to win her debut by one-half length in a driving snowstorm at Laurel. In her next start, Hot Property attended a dawdling pace and lost a head bob to Kathy's Escolha. She cleared the first-level allowance hurdle on Aprilo1, rallying again from off the pace to win.

"She was very difficult to get started; she'd been with several trainers and they all had physical problems with her,'' Tagg said. "We had to start all over with her. She had what we thought were major problems, but they were minor problems since she overcame them all and has been running quite nicely.''

Hot Property would appreciate a contested pace in front of her. Maizelle and Femmina could provide her just that.

Maizelle, trained by Todd Pletcher, has never been worse than second in five starts. With the exception of her debut last summer at Saratoga, she has raced close to the lead in her other races. In a one-turn mile allowance race at Gulfstream last out, she was beaten by Lovely Dream, who came back to win a third-level allowance race at Keeneland.

Femmina won on the lead over the inner track in February, then was beaten in the same first-level allowance condition - when offered for the optional claiming price of $75,000 - by Mama Theresa last out.

Dina won the Rare Treat Handicap in February when able to get away with a soft early lead.