02/21/2008 1:00AM

Runway Rosie aims to stretch her streak


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - At this time last year, Runway Rosie was chasing eventual Belmont Stakes winner Rags to Riches in Grade 1 stakes at Santa Anita.

A lot has changed since then for the gray 4-year-old filly, who will be tying to extend her winning streak to three Saturday in the $75,000 Rare Treat Handicap at Aqueduct.

The setting is not as picturesque and the races aren't as prestigious, but you can't argue with success. Following a sale, Runway Rosie has clearly found a winter niche with Gary Contessa, Aqueduct's leading trainer.

"We bought her to run her on the inner track," Contessa said. "We're looking to take full advantage and strike while the iron's hot."

This will be Runway Rosie's sixth start for Contessa. The winning streak started in a second-level allowance here Jan. 25, followed by a 4 1/4-length victory in the Ride Sally Stakes on Feb. 2.

Distance could be a factor. The two wins were one mile; the Rare Treat adds a furlong.

"It shouldn't make a difference," Contessa said. "She's always strong late in the race. She should be even a little more relaxed with the extra distance. It should be to her advantage."

So should the past Grade 1 experience.

"We looked at those races in California and said, 'Imagine how good she could be on the inner track at Aqueduct,' " Contessa said. "The prophecy came true."

The Rare Treat shapes up as a competitive race, with Runway Rosie one of several runners displaying strong recent form. Stage Luck puts a three-race winning streak on the line for trainer Tom Albertrani. A $1.6 million yearling purchase by Darley Stable, Stage Luck makes only her fourth start in a career delayed by an ankle chip at 2.

Most recently, Stage Luck got up by a neck to win Aqueduct's Affectionately Handicap on Jan. 12.

After that race, Albertrani indicated her next start would likely come here in the Grade 3 Next Move Handicap on March 29.

"She's been acting good," Albertrani said. "She has some minor problems and we passed on a few races. You've got to run her when she's doing good, and she's coming up to this race fine."

Completing the field are Aliysa, runner-up to Stage Luck in the Affectionately and the winner last time out of the Big A's Squan Song Stakes in the slop; Wild Hoots; Guidance; and Homerette.