11/17/2004 12:00AM

Rogue Agent has lot to prove


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Trainer Richard Schosberg has the same question most handicappers do when trying to figure out what to do with Rogue Agent in Friday's $60,000 classified allowance feature at Aqueduct.

"Is he still sliding or is he ready to come back and be the horse that he was six, eight, nine, 10 months ago?" Schosberg asked.

Schosberg, who has only had Rogue Agent for two months, isn't sure himself. shows all the right signs, Schosberg said, but four consecutive sub-par efforts has Schosberg wondering if Rogue Agent is past his prime.

His performance in Friday's one-mile race should be a telltale sign, because it is the easiest spot in which Rogue Agent has participated in a while. This will be Rogue Agent's second start for Schosberg. In his first, Rogue Agent finished 11th in the Empire Classic after dueling for the lead for nearly six furlongs.

"It was probably too much to ask of him off the layoff with so much speed in the race, knowing he was going to run as hard as he could as far as he could," Schosberg said. "Have I learned more about the horse? I don't know. I'm a conservative skeptic. The horse is training very well, the horse looks great, but the horse also has four bad races in a row."

Rogue Agent will be reunited with Norberto Arroyo Jr., who had success on him last year, including an allowance win a year ago this day over the main track.

In addition to taking a class drop, Rogue Agent could be the main speed in the race.

After a strong campaign in 2003, has made only two starts in 2004. According to trainer Jim Ryerson, Jersey Giant got hit in the eye when he finished fifth in the Artax Handicap in March. In April, Jersey Giant was injured when finishing fourth, beaten 24 lengths, in the Grade 3 Ben Ali Handicap. He has not run since.

"We're happy to get a race in him," Ryerson said. "He's like 85 percent, I would say. I think he's a little better at two turns. I think he'll need a race or two."

, a Chilean-bred, is winless in four starts in this country, but his race two back, when he finished second to Colita, would make him competitive here.

"He's a trying-type horse who gives you his best," said trainer Mike Miceli.

Free of Love, a stakes winner at Belmont; Vinemeister, second in the 2002 Jerome; and the graded stakes winner New York Hero add to the depth of this field.