05/10/2004 11:00PM

Rogue Agent one to catch


ELMONT, N.Y. - There are no stakes on tap, but a dozen horses who at some point were good enough to run in graded stakes can be found on Thursday's high-quality program.

The graded stakes runners are all older males, and they are entered in races 3, 6, and 8.

The third race is a third-level allowance at 1 1/8 miles. , who was unable to carry his speed in the Fort Marcy Handicap on the turf last time out, is the one to catch in a field of five.

Before his sixth-place finish in the Fort Marcy, Rogue Agent ran Beyer Speed Figures of 107, 107, and 109 in three straight front-running efforts on dirt - a close third in the Aqueduct Handicap, a second in the John Campbell when he was placed third for drifting in, and a second at this allowance condition last month that was the fastest 1 1/8-mile race at Aqueduct's spring meet.

Also in the field are Epoxy, who gave futile chase to Rogue Agent in his last start, and three closers: Silent Fred, idle since two wins in March against weaker allowance foes; Aventura Place, winner of his only start at Belmont last fall; and Bourbonnais, who hasn't been out for two months since finishing sixth in the Skip Away Handicap at 5-2.

The sixth race is a high-priced claimer at a mile with a top asking price of $75,000. Four of the seven entrants show graded-stakes lines - Speed Hunter, Classic Endeavor, Justification, and The Deputy Is Home. But the two who have managed triple-digit Beyers recently are Spooky Mulder, who has won 5 of 10 starts since being claimed by Scott Lake, and Raneem, who two starts back splashed to a big score in the mud at Aqueduct off a turf-to-dirt switch by trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.

Speed Hunter, fourth in the Sport Page and Fall Highweight last fall, is the stronger looking half of the Richard Dutrow-trained entry. His entrymate is Mister Hennessy.

The eighth race is a tough optional claimer at 1 1/16 miles. All six in the field have run in stakes, five of them in graded stakes.

Ground Storm and Big Sid's Party, the one-two finishers in the Stymie Handicap in their penultimate starts, are entered for the $100,000 claiming price. So is Angelic Aura, who is coming off the two fastest races of his career.

Also in the field are Sherpa Guide, winner of last year's Evan Shipman and fifth in the Woodward; Region of Merit, last year's Tampa Bay Derby winner; and Onthedeanslist, who has won over a muddy Belmont strip.