02/01/2008 12:00AM

Rodman's debut worth waiting for

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OZONE PARK, N.Y. - He's not headed to the Kentucky Derby, but Rodman stamped himself as a 3-year-old to watch with an impressive debut win Thursday at Aqueduct.

Rodman, a Kentucky-bred son of Malibu Moon owned by Barry Schwartz and trained by Mike Hushion, rebounded from a slow start to register a five-length victory in a six-furlong maiden race. He ran six furlongs in 1:11.43 and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 81.

"We were excited about him going in,'' Hushion said. "We were a little concerned because we knew he didn't have much gate speed. He sure passed the rest of the test.''

After his slow start, Rodman raced in sixth position and in the clear down the backstretch. He was still sixth turning for home before making a move at the three-sixteenths pole and splitting horses at the eighth pole. Rodman, a flashy-looking chestnut with a big white blaze, galloped out nicely afterward.

"He was on his own back there and had a good chance to relax,'' Hushion said. "I thought he might kick from there. To close like that into a slow pace I thought was impressive.''

Hushion said he had "no thoughts'' as to what may be next for Rodman, but he preferred not to rush him into a stakes race.

Hushion said he had hoped to get Rodman to the races last year, but the big, lanky colt had the typical 2-year-old infirmities, such as shins. Rodman showed two workouts in May, but then was off the work tab until November.

It remains to be seen how far Rodman wants to run, but "off that race yesterday you'd think he could get a mile or so,'' Hushion said.

Golden Dawn headed to Barbara Fritchie

Hushion said Golden Dawn would skip next Saturday's $75,000 Correction Handicap here to run in the $300,000 Barbara Fritchie Handicap at Laurel Park on Feb. 16.

Golden Dawn, a daughter of Hennessy, won the Fiesta Lady Stakes here on Jan. 9 by six lengths, running six furlongs in 1:09.96 and receiving a Beyer Speed Figure of 96. Hushion said the Grade 2 status, the purse, and the extra week made the Fritchie a more attractive proposition.

"She's doing great,'' Hushion said. "We're just holding our breath to the race. A little more time between races won't hurt.''

Wonderwho'sbest tries dirt again

Those who wagered on Wonderwho'sbest at 6-1 in last month's Busanda Stakes were probably heading to the windows at the quarter pole as the 3-year-old filly cruised to the lead under Alan Garcia.

But despite making the lead so easily, Wonderwho'sbest faltered in the stretch and somehow wound up fourth, beaten five lengths by Paint Me Red. Wonderwho'sbest, who entered the Busanda off three turf races, will give the dirt another try in Sunday's $65,000 Glory in Motion, an overnight stakes run at a mile and 70 yards.

Bruce Levine, the trainer of Wonderwho'sbest, said he feels his filly made the lead too early in the Busanda and didn't know what to do.

"I think she tried to prop,'' Levine said. "She pulled herself up and [Garcia] couldn't get her going. I think we'll try to sit back and use something as a target and not make the lead too soon.''

Love Co, Veiled Reference, and Nikkiandme look like they could serve as targets for Wonderwho'sbest.

La Porta was beaten a neck in the Busanda after trailing by as many as 11 lengths early. She raced just inside the winner, Paint Me Red, from upper stretch to the wire.

Philly Gal, trained by John Servis, ships up from Philadelphia Park coming off a first-level allowance win there on Dec. 24. Ten days before that, Philly Gal raced over the inner track, nearly going down after clipping heels with another horse at the end of the clubhouse turn. She finished fourth in that allowance race.

Aliysa romps in Squan Song

Aliysa ($2.90) made the lead shortly after the start under Ramon Dominguez and splashed her way to a 1 1/2-length victory over stablemate Peerless in Friday's $64,750 Squan Song Stakes for older fillies and mares.

It was nine lengths back to Morning Gallop, who got third by a neck over Homerette.

Aliysa, a 5-year-old Brazilian-bred daughter of Music Prospector, got away with fractions in 25.63 seconds, 51.73, 1:17.11, 1:41.98, and covered the mile and 70 yards in 1:46.15 over a sloppy track.

Aliysa, trained by Todd Pletcher, now has 5 wins from 12 starts, and is 5 for 6 over a wet track.

Carolyn's Cat turns the tables

Carolyn's Cat, who finished second to Dill or No Dill in last month's Ruthless Stakes, turned the tables on that rival Thursday, going gate to wire to win the $65,950 T Storm Stakes by five lengths. Dill or No Dill finished second.

Carolyn's Cat, a daughter of Forestry owned by William Warren and trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, ran six furlongs in 1:10.52 under Alan Garcia.

* Giant Moon, the undefeated New York-bred 3-year-old, worked four furlongs in 49.62 seconds over the Belmont Park training track Friday morning. Giant Moon, who won the Count Fleet Stakes last month, is scheduled to make his next start in the Grade 3, $250,000 Gotham Stakes here on March 8.

* In honor of the New York Giants' participation in the Super Bowl, any patron wearing Giants apparel will be admitted to Aqueduct free on Sunday. Aqueduct will also be offering a Super Bowl Sunday brunch buffet in the Equestris Dining Room at a cost of $29.95 per person.