01/17/2010 12:00AM

Two free of imposing rival

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Tidal Dance wins an allowance two starts back under Ramon Dominguez, who rides again Sunday.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Five weeks ago, the last time Tidal Dance and Saxet Heights raced, they both ran into a buzzsaw named Life at Ten in the Snit Stakes. Tidal Dance and Saxet Heights are entered back in Sunday's $65,000 Affectionately Stakes at Aqueduct, and fortunately for them Life at Ten is not.

Tidal Dance and Saxet Heights, the second- and third-place finishers in the Snit, loom the ones to beat in the Affectionately at 1 1/16 miles over the inner track. The Affectionately drew a field of seven, including last year's winner, Yet Again.

Tidal Dance, a daughter of Pleasant Tap, will be making her fourth start for trainer Mike Hushion, who received the mare last fall. Tidal Dance has a win and two seconds, and though she was beaten 1 3/4 lengths in the Snit, she finished nearly four lengths ahead of Saxet Heights.

"I thought she ran hard, was second-best that day," Hushion said. "If anything, she's worked as good if not better then she has all year, so I'm encouraged."

Tidal Dance will also be reunited with Ramon Dominguez, who was aboard for the mare's second-level allowance win over the main track in November.

Saxet Heights had 4 wins and 2 seconds in her 6 starts leading up to the Snit. She raced outside of Tidal Dance in the second flight of horses, but couldn't keep up with Tidal Dance when the real running started. Trainer Jeff Runco is hoping that Saxet Heights improves second time over the inner.

"She's had a race over the track, she's coming back in the right amount of time," Runco said. "I expect her to run well."

A forecast that calls for rain could help Saxet Heights, who has 3 wins and 1 second in 4 wet-track starts.

"The mud does not hurt her a bit," Runco said.

Yes She's a Lady, trained by Todd Pletcher, could play out as the main speed from the rail. Yes She's a Lady got loose on he lead winning a two-turn maiden race over the inner track in February, but she has yet to find her best form in two starts since returning from a nine-month layoff. All Night Labor is the only other entrant with some early speed.

Yet Again charged from off the pace to win the Affectionately last year. She is only 1 for 11 since. Pumpkin Shell won the Busanda over the inner track last year and is making her third start off a layoff.