03/02/2011 4:12PM

Speightful Affair trying next level at Aqueduct


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Speightful Affair broke through with a career-best performance last December, winning a first-level allowance race by almost seven lengths. A similar effort Friday could make Speightful Affair a stakes winner when she is scheduled to meet six rivals in the $60,000 Am Capable Stakes for fillies and mares going a mile over Aqueduct’s inner track.

Among Speightful Affair’s rivals are Five Grand Girl and Purrfect Bluff, the first- and fourth-place finishers from Sunday’s Patty’s Positive Stakes going six furlongs here.

While those two horses would be coming back in five days, Speightful Affair will be making her first start in 82 days, or since she won a first-level allowance race by 6 3/4 lengths over a sloppy inner track on Dec. 12. She wore blinkers for the first time that day, after his connections had thought she hung a bit in her previous start.

“The blinkers woke her up,” said Toby Sheets, who oversees trainer Steve Asmussen’s New York division. “She ran a big race, a big number with them. Hopefully, we can get lucky Friday.”

Sheets explained that Speightful Affair’s layoff was precipitated by a minor foot injury. But Speightful Affair has been able to work once a week for the last three weeks leading up to this. Breaking from the rail under Cornelio Velasquez, Speightful Affair figures to be on or close to the pace.

Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. has been on a major roll in New York lately, winning five of the last six races he has participated in here (he is 5 for 7 overall in that span) dating back to Feb. 16. Three of those wins have come in stakes, including Five Grand Girl’s two-length win in the six-furlong Patty’s Positive on Sunday. That win made her 3 for 3 over the inner track.

Five Grand Girl will try two turns and a mile for the first time under leading rider Ramon Dominguez.

While Dutrow has been known to run in-form horses back quickly, he may opt to scratch Purrfect Bluff, who was beaten 4 1/2 lengths in the Patty’s Positive. This would be Purrfect Bluff’s first start around two turns in her 30th career effort.

Super Espresso, a $1.1 million daughter of Medaglia d’Oro, has won three consecutive races, including the Sky Beauty Stakes going a mile over the inner track on Feb. 6. Junior Alvarado rides from post 2.

Meridian Mama, Vindy City, and Jemilyn complete the field.