01/15/2008 1:00AM

Royal Moment back on short rest


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Royal Moment was claimed by Winning Move Stable and Gary Contessa for $35,000 from his first start at Aqueduct's winter meet. A consistent gelding, Royal Moment won back most of that amount when he returned for a convincing score in an optional-claiming sprint last Thursday, and Contessa is wheeling him back on short rest in Thursday's eighth race, a $50,000 optional claimer at six furlongs.

Contessa also entered Maddy's Lion, who was claimed from a fourth-place finish behind Royal Moment last week. Contessa's coupled entry takes on six rivals, including the David Jacobson-trained entry of I Ain't No Saint, who hasn't run in 64 days, and Santa's Gold, who was fifth to Royal Moment last week.

"It wouldn't be a surprise if I ran them both," said Contessa. "They have two different running styles, they both fit well, and they both came out of their races good, so why not take a shot? Sometimes these races are killers, but I didn't think this was a particularly tough '50,' and this might be a little better situation for Maddy's Lion."

Both are entered for the $50,000 claiming price in a race also open to second-level allowance horses.

Royal Moment is normally on a once-a-month racing schedule, but seemed to win with something left while posting a career-best 94 Beyer Figure.

"If ever you're going to be able to do this, it's during the winter at Aqueduct," Contessa explained. "I used to watch [Rick] Dutrow do this all the time. It's all about replenishing fluid and keeping them hydrated, which is much harder to do in the summer."

I Ain't No Saint has a stretch-running style that may not be a terrific fit for the inner track, but he ran a pair of bang-up sprints last fall after being claimed for $60,000: a runner-up finish at this level in the slop at Monmouth Park, followed by a near-miss in the Maria's Mon, an overnight stakes for 3-year-olds at Aqueduct's fall meet.

Also entered are Executive Fleet, who has won 4 of 7 sprints on dirt; Hesgoodwithmoney, who looks for his third straight win; Saay Mi Name, whose last win was the 2005 Maryland Million Sprint; and L'Argent, whose best races have come on Polytrack.