04/24/2006 11:00PM

South American trio in route


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - A strong Thursday program at Aqueduct includes four grass races and two competitive allowance routes on the main track.

The third race, a high-priced optional claimer at 1 1/4 miles, has a South American feel. That is where three of the six older males were bred and won group stakes early in their careers: .

All three raced on the Florida Derby undercard at Gulfstream Park on April 1. We Can Seek and Contante finished second and seventh, respectively, behind Met Mile-bound Bandini in the Skip Away Handicap. Auguri was the pacesetter in the Artax Handicap.

Auguri is stretching out after running an opening half-mile in 44.54 seconds, and is the one to catch as he stretches out. A big key may be how much early pressure he receives from Infinite Glory.

also ran in a stakes race on April 1, but at Aqueduct, where he was eased in the Grade 3 Excelsior Handicap after chasing the pace. If you're trying to figure out what to make of that ugly-looking running line, which followed two optional claiming victories at the turn of the year, take heart, because so is his trainer.

"I have no idea what happened last time," said Richard Dutrow Jr., currently in the midst of a torrid spring meet. "[Kent] Desormeaux tried to explain it to me, but I still don't understand. He's been doing good. I had no idea what to tell anybody."

Assuming that Infinite Glory is good to go - a reasonable assumption for a horse who has won 8 of 19 starts, and worked twice soon after the Excelsior debacle - an honest pace could help We Can Seek and Contante, who both ran well at Gulfstream recently.

Contante, who narrowly missed in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap two back, shipped up from Florida to win out of the chute here last April.

Dr. Rockett and Malibu Moonshine complete the field.

The eighth race, a second-level allowance at 1 1/8 miles, drew a field of seven that includes the Dutrow-trained entry of Indian War Dance, unraced since June 2004, and Golden Man, who ran twice in three days in mid-March. Golden Man is the one who will start, said Dutrow.