11/12/2008 1:00AM

Schosberg, Tagg hope race stays on turf


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - A pair of second-level allowance races for New York-breds - one scheduled for the turf and one on dirt - highlight Friday's nine-race card at Aqueduct. Both races are at one mile.

Provided Thursday's forecasted rains don't cancel turf racing Friday, then the seventh looms the most competitive heat on the card. Ten horses were entered for the turf while five more are entered in case the race is transferred to the dirt.

Dantastic and Bontempi, two horses returning from long layoffs, are intriguing in the seventh. Dantastic, trained by Richard Schosberg, has not run since May 2 at Belmont when he finished third, beaten just one-half length by Mor Chances in a second-level allowance race on turf. Mor Chances won a division of the New York Stallion Stakes on dirt Sunday.

Schosberg explained that Dantastic, a 4-year-old son of Victory Gallop, was gelded since his last start because he was becoming too tough to handle "to the point of getting dangerous." Schosberg said certain aspects of Dantastic's training are better "but he's still got his little quirks."

Dantastic has run two good races on Aqueduct's turf course. Last Nov. 17, he won a first-level allowance race by a head at 9-2. In a maiden race here in April 2007, Dantastic finished second to Pays to Dream, who would win 4 of 11 starts after that, including the Grade 2 Dixie Stakes at Pimlico in May.

Schosberg said he hopes the race stays on the turf.

Trainer Barclay Tagg, off to an uncharacteristic 0 for 17 start at the meet, also hopes the seventh stays on the turf as he attempts to bring the promising Bontempi back to the races. A 3-year-old son of Sligo Bay, Bontempi won two straight last spring before being sidelined with an ankle injury.

"We thought he was pretty nice all along,'' said Robin Smullen, assistant to Tagg. "He's just done everything we've asked him to do.''

Don't Fooli Houli and Key Event are also contenders on the turf.

If this race comes off the turf, Success Fee looks like the one to beat for trainer Mark Hennig.

After winning two stakes races on Sunday's card, trainer Ramon Hernandez looks live in Friday's third race with Luck, who has two wins and a second in her last three dirt starts. The late-running filly may get a perfect set-up with Mighty Eros and Casey's Tribe likely to battle it out on the front end.