12/30/2006 12:00AM

Smart and Fancy takes her shot


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Tony Dutrow appreciates a good horse as much as the next trainer, even if that horse is not in his barn. And while Dutrow speaks glowingly of the Gary Contessa-trained mare Magnolia Jackson, he is very much looking forward to taking her on in Monday's $65,000 Interborough Handicap with Smart and Fancy.

Magnolia Jackson and Smart and Fancy have combined to win 12 of their last 15 starts and make for an intriguing matchup in the New Year's Day feature at Aqueduct. The Interborough, run at six furlongs, also drew Grade 2 winner Great Intentions as well as Samsincharge, Oprah Winney, Evasive, and True Kiss.

After running poorly in the first two starts of her career, Smart and Fancy has won 6 of her last 7, including the Maryland Million Oaks at Laurel Park on Oct. 14. Though she has not run in 79 days, Dutrow excels with horses returning from extended layoffs.

"She sure does give you everything she possibly can, and that filly is training unbelievable over the inner track,'' Dutrow said. "I got all the respect in the world for Gary Contessa's mare; that is a fantastic mare, I love her. She represents everything horse racing stands for, but Smart and Fancy is going to run big New Year's Day.''

In addition to facing a quality mare in Magnolia Jackson, Smart and Fancy will likely have to deal with an off track for the first time. As a daughter of Not for Love, she is bred to handle it, and she shows a good work at Delaware Park in the mud. The white-hot C. C. Lopez rides Smart and Fancy from post 2.

Magnolia Jackson is 3 for 5 over wet surfaces, and 4 for 5 over the inner track. In her last start, Magnolia Jackson won the Garland of Roses Handicap in front-running fashion, though Contessa believes she is more effective from off the pace. She figures to come from off the pace if Samsincharge and Great Intentions go at each other early.

"I think she's a hair better on a fast track, but she's a filly that can do it all,'' Contessa said. "She's a legitimate graded-stakes-quality sprinting mare running at Aqueduct in the winter.''

Great Intentions threw in a clunker last time in the First Flight Handicap, but two starts back she won the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom Handicap. She may not be as effective on a wet track, however. On the other hand, Samsincharge is 3 for 3 over wet surfaces, but will have to deal with early pressure in the Interborough.