04/23/2008 12:00AM

Runway Rosie's time still is now


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Trainer Gary Contessa can't wait to run Runway Rosie in the $65,000 Sweetzie Stakes for fillies and mares Friday at Aqueduct.

"She couldn't be doing better," Contessa said by phone from Florida. "She could not be coming into this race any better. Her form is excellent. The distance is to her liking. They've got to really run to beat her on Friday."

Runway Rosie faces four rivals in the 1o1/8-mile race: Altesse, Belleplaine, Borrowing Base, and So Glitzy. None can match her for consistency this season.

Runway Rosie is 3-1-0 in 5 starts, all at Aqueduct. The last two, both at this same 1o1/8-mile distance, were her finest yet - a win in the Rare Treat Stakes on Feb. 23 followed by a second in the Grade 3 Next Move Handicap on March 29. Runway Rosie responded with career-high Beyer Speed Figures of 93 and 92 in those two races.

With the New York Racing Association circuit shifting to Belmont Park next week, this will be Runway Rosie's last chance to go 1 1/8 miles around two turns on the main track until Saratoga.

"She might find herself at a little disadvantage going one turn," Contessa said. "I like getting this last [two-turn] mile-and-an-eighth race into her. This is her game."

The main competition for Runway Rosie figures to be Altesse, making her first start since running fourth in the Grade 2 Rampart Handicap on March 9 at Gulfstream Park.

Trained by Shug McGaughey, she last raced at Aqueduct in November, finishing fifth in the Grade 2 Top Flight Handicap.

She reunites with jockey Ramon Dominguez for the first time since they teamed to win a second-level allowance race at Aqueduct last April.

The other three runners lack the stakes experience of the top two contenders.

Belleplaine was eased in her lone stakes appearance in June 2007 on the synthetic surface at Woodbine. A homebred 4-year-old for Eugene Melnyk, she switched barns following the Woodbine Oaks, moving from Todd Pletcher to Tom Albertrani. She was a pacesetting allowance winner last time out at Laurel.

So Glitzy had back-to-back wins at Gulfstream over the winter, but found second-level allowance foes too tough in her last two starts.