10/24/2007 11:00PM

Tasteyville cuts back in Sport Page

EmailOZONE PARK, N.Y. - Countless old-time handicapping systems began with "Know your racetrack," and that old bromide could be relevant to Saturday's $150,000 Sport Page Handicap. The main track was strongly biased to early speed on opening day, but those with long memories may recall that outside closers had a supreme advantage on this day a year ago.

"We ran Afrashad in the Sport Page last year and it was the worst speed day of the year at Aqueduct," recalled Rick Mettee, who oversees Godolphin's New York contingent for trainer Saeed bin Suroor. "The track was all closers."

Afrashad is awaiting next month's Grade 1 De Francis Memorial, but stablemate Council Member, who rallied for second last out in the James B. Moseley Handicap at Suffolk Downs, will stretch out to seven furlongs in the Grade 3 Sport Page and take on a field that includes Sir Greeley, runner-up in this race last year; the talented Chatain, whose 2007 campaign has been limited by ankle and foot issues; Premium Wine, a New York-bred fresh off a win the $250,000 Gallant Bob at Philadelphia Park; and Tasteyville, second in the Brooklyn most recently.

Council Member "has run on turf and Polytrack in England, he's run at Belmont and Saratoga, and he fired up at Suffolk, so he's a pretty adaptable horse," Mettee said. "I think he'll run over anything, but how the track's going to play Saturday, I don't know. I didn't think there was a whole lot of pace in there."

The one to catch, even though he is cutting back from the 1 1/8-mile Brooklyn, could be Tasteyville, who set a strong pace that day against Haskell winner Any Given Saturday.

"I don't know if he'll have that much speed at seven-eighths, but we'll see what happens," trainer Pat Kelly said.

With rain falling Thursday and more in the forecast Friday night into Saturday, the track figures to be something other than fast.

"We think he's going to like it," Kelly said.

A wet track could also benefit Sir Greeley, who has run second in the Carter and Fall Highweight on sloppy tracks at Aqueduct.

* The Grade 3, $100,000 Knickerbocker Handicap, 1 1/8-mile turf race, was also scheduled to be on the program, but it was pushed back to Sunday in hopes of keeping it on the grass.