05/15/2008 12:00AM

Rite Moment meets Carriage Trail in Shuvee

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ELMONT, N.Y. - Rite Moment, who is a half-length shy of a

6-for-6 record this year, takes on the consistent Carriage Trail in Saturday's $150,000 Shuvee Handicap at one mile.

Rite Moment won just 1 of 6 starts in the Midwest last year, but has blossomed into one of the top fillies in New York as a

4-year-old, winning five races for trainer Gary Contessa.

Rite Moment, whose only defeat this year was a fast finish for second in the Correction, looks for her third straight Grade 2 victory. She took the six-furlong Distaff from off the pace, and then battled for the lead throughout the seven-furlong Bed o' Roses.

"She has exceeded all our expectations," said Contessa.

Rite Moment carries 119 pounds as the starting highweight, giving two pounds to Carriage Trail.

Carriage Trail has been versatile enough to win on turf, dirt, and Polytrack with stretch-running tactics, but the 5-year-old mare showed a new dimension at Keeneland last month when she was sent to the early lead by Kent Desormeaux and upset the Grade 3 Doubledogdare at nearly 10-1.

"She really likes the Polytrack," said trainer Shug McGaughey, who has saddled previous Shuvee winners Queen of Song (1984), Personal Ensign (1988), Inside Information (1995), and Storm Flag Flying (2004). "No one wants the front on that track, but she was able to back the pace up."

Carriage Trail has raced twice on dirt: an allowance win in an off-the-turf sprint at Saratoga in 2006, and a third in last year's Grade 1 Humana Distaff despite bobbling at the break.

"My plan wasn't to run her in the Shuvee," said McGaughey, "but she's trained so well, I thought, 'Why not?' "

Kiaran McLaughlin entered Wow Me Free, winner of the Next Move Handicap in her only start this year, and Cowgirls Don't Cry, who dueled with Rite Moment in the Bed o' Roses andlooms part of the early pace along with Striking Tomisue. The latter led wire to wire in a second-level allowance at Aqueduct last time out.

* With the first race at Pimlico scheduled for 10:30 a.m., gates here will open at 10 a.m. Wagering will be limited to self-service machines until

12:15 p.m. Voucher sales start at 10:15.