03/04/2008 12:00AM

Two contenders iffy at distance


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - For those having a tough time drawing conclusions about some contenders in Thursday's $65,000 Limit Stakes at Aqueduct, don't worry, so are their connections.

Rite Moment and Devil House have sharp recent sprint form, but neither of their trainers knows what to expect from them at a mile and 70 yards.

"This was option three for Rite Moment," said her trainer, Gary Contessa. "I put her in a couple of sprints that didn't fill, so I stuck her in to take a look."

After arriving from Chicago, Rite Moment got through two allowance conditions in short order, winning by open lengths on sloppy and good tracks. She comes off a fast-closing second in the Correction Handicap behind Beau Dare, who was one of six wire-to-wire winners on the Feb.o9 card.

"My gut tells me she's a closing sprinter, but her running style suggests she might go long," said Contessa.

Devil House, another transplanted Midwesterner, returned from a layoff and wired a six-furlong overnight stakes in her first start for trainer Bruce Levine. It was her third stakes win at that distance. She went long four times last year, beginning with a front-running score in the Martha Washington from an outside post at Oaklawn Park.

Devil House drew the outside again for Thursday, but she will move in at least one stall to post 7, because the Steve Klesaris-trained entry of Stay Safe and Lassie's Ticket both have Mario Pino named and one will be scratched.

Said Levine: "It was run here, sit in the barn, or wait for the Distaff," which will be run March 22.

Levine was encouraged by Devil House's six-furlong work in 1:14.45 last Friday over the Belmont training track.

"Sometimes they force your hand," he said. "She worked real good; it was a big work on a dead track. But I still couldn't tell you whether she wants to go long or not."

Street Bird, a three-time route winner this winter, and Bold Assurance, second last out in the Ride Sally Stakes, drew the two inside posts.

The field also includes Morning Gallop, the top earner, whose best game is a one-turn mile, and Bartola, a multiple stakes winner in her native Argentina who hasn't run in nearly a year.

"She's training well," said Toby Sheets, who is overseeing Steve Asmussen's New York string. "It will be interesting to see how she does."