11/26/2001 12:00AM

Rain may close turf course


JAMAICA, N.Y. - The run of dry weather that has made for uninterrupted turf racing this fall at Aqueduct is about to come to an end. With rain falling following the races Sunday and with more showers forecast Wednesday through Friday, it is quite possible turf racing could be done for the year.

At the very least, Wednesday's featured event, a third-level allowance at nine furlongs, is in jeopardy of moving to the main track.

That would be fine for trainers Todd Pletcher and Carlos Martin, who would have the horses to beat in that $48,000 allowance race should it be washed off the turf.

Pletcher, who has won with five of the last 11 horses he has saddled at Aqueduct, sends out Paynes Bay, a 3-year-old Mr. Prospector colt who is on the improve since being stretched out in distance. While he is skipping an allowance condition in this spot, he would loom the one to beat.

"It's been by circumstance that it took us a little while to do it," Pletcher said about stretching out Paynes Bay, a $1 million yearling purchase. "I felt all along that's what he wanted to do."

Paynes Bay is coming off a front-running victory in a preliminary allowance race on Nov. 3, in which he dictated the pace from the outset en route to a 2 3/4-length victory. Three starts back, he came from off the pace to win a 1 1/16-mile maiden race.

Martin sends out Tempest Fugit, who is 3 for 4 at Aqueduct with all three wins coming at nine furlongs. Last November, he won over a dry track and a wet surface in allowance company. Earlier this month, he took a $50,000 claimer in front-running fashion. The second- and third-place horses from that race both came back to run well in their next starts.

"I don't know if he's come back to the form he was at last winter when he finished second in a stakes," said Martin, referring to Tempest Fugit's second-place finish in the Broad Brush at Laurel Park last December. "But it looks like he's turned the corner big time."

Should the race remain on turf, trainer Christophe Clement looks to have the horse to beat in either Revved Up or Broadway Snowman, who are a combined 3 for 3 at Aqueduct. Revved Up would be cutting back in distance should Clement elect to run him, while Broadway Snowman is 2 for 2 at nine furlongs and is versatile enough to run on or off the pace.

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