12/18/2003 12:00AM

Retroactive should get distance


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - There are no standouts in Saturday's $100,000 Ladies Handicap at Aqueduct, but betting opportunities abound for handicappers looking to score some holiday shopping money.

Eleven fillies and mares entered the Grade 3 Ladies, and whoever the favorite is in this wide-open race, her odds will probably be no lower than 5-2.

None of the horses in the field is proven at the Ladies distance of 1 1/4 miles, but Retroactive is a filly with the breeding to get a route. A 3-year-old daughter of Deputy Minister out of the Easy Goer mare Retrospective, Retroactive has three wins from six career starts. All of Retroactive's wins came at Belmont Park - two in 1 1/16-mile races and another at 1 1/8 miles. In each of her wins, Retroactive was drawing off at the finish.

In her last start, she gained ground in the stretch to finish fourth in the Grade 3 Anne Arundel at Laurel Park on Nov. 15.

Retroactive makes her first start for trainer Shug McGaughey and McGaughey's assistant, Buzz Tenney, who is looking after Retroactive for trainer Rusty Arnold while Arnold is in Florida.

"I've worked her twice since I've got her and she gallops right along," Tenney said. "Her breeding is encouraging and she's a big filly that settles in her races."

Javier Castellano rides Retroactive, who breaks from post 3.

Lady Liberty, trained by McGaughey, seeks her first win since May 30, when she won a second-level allowance race at Belmont. She was fourth in the Grade 3 Turnback the Alarm on Nov. 1.

Lady Liberty, Call An Audible, and City Fire are the highweights at 114 pounds.

Queen's Triomphe, a New York-bred, has been consistent, winning five of seven starts this year. She won the two-turn Montauk at Aqueduct in her last start Nov. 30, and trainer Tom Bush said her stalking style should suit her well in the Ladies.

An interesting horse is the Illinois-bred Julie's Prize, a 3-year-old daughter of El Prado. Julie's Prize won the restricted Princess Handicap by 11 1/4 lengths at Hawthorne Nov. 8. The 1 1/16-mile Princess was Julie's Prize's fourth win from eight starts this year.

City Fire looks like the lone speed in the Ladies. She won the Pennsylvania Oaks in the slop in September. Her chances improve considerably if the track is wet.