01/26/2007 12:00AM

Successful Affair reloads


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - After racing 17 times in 2006, Successful Affair might be due for a break. And while he may soon be getting one, it won't be due to fatigue.

Having found a new lease on life as a marathon runner, Successful Affair is running out of opportunities to display his long-distance prowess. Perhaps his final opportunity of the winter to do that comes Sunday at Aqueduct in the $65,000 Proud Appeal, an overnight stakes at 1 1/4 miles over the inner track.

Successful Affair has won four consecutive races since trainer Gary Contessa claimed him for $16,000 on behalf of Stephen Sigler's Winning Move Stable on Oct. 19. He has won races at two miles, 1 1/2 miles, and

1 5/8 miles, the last two being stakes.

In fact, Successful Affair has displayed such a penchant for distance races, Contessa wonders whether he'll be as effective at 1 1/4 miles.

"A mile and a quarter is going to be like sprinting him," Contessa said. "I'm not positive we're going to see the same horse we've been seeing in the mile and a half and mile and five-eighths races."

Contessa does note however, that Successful Affair has come out of his victories in the Dec. 2 Coyote Lakes and Dec. 30 Gallant Fox Handicap looking for more to do.

"He fits what a marathoner is," Contessa said. "Those guys that run in the New York City Marathon they don't rest for a month afterward. They're back running in the streets three days later. This horse really loves training, seems to like running."

Successful Affair breaks from posto2 under Ramon Dominguez. He'll most likely be tracking Silver Prospector, another Contessa trainee, who finished last in the Jan. 20 Aqueduct Handicap after being outrun for the early lead by Liquor Cabinet.

With the exception of his inexplicably dull fourth-place finish in the Alex M. Robb Handicap last month, Carminooch has been a solid horse up to 1 1/8 miles. Seth Benzel, who is the trainer of record while Todd Pletcher sits out a suspension through Feb. 9, believes his horse will relish the added distance of Sunday's Proud Appeal.

"I think it suits him perfect," Benzel said. "He's the type of horse who kind of has a grinding style. He's lost a couple of races because he wasn't able to get up in time."

A potential upsetter could be Tall Story, who rolled to a 13 1/2-length first-level allowance win over this track on Jan. 18. Chilly Rooster and Lord Langfuhr complete the field.