11/04/2005 1:00AM

Two last-out third-place finishers look best now


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - As third-place finishes go, Classic Pack's effort in the Sleepy Hollow Stakes and Little Miss Zip's performance in the Maid of the Mist two weeks ago in one-mile stakes races at Belmont Park were solid.

Sunday, Classic Pack and Little Miss Zip cut back to their preferred distance of six furlongs and look like the ones to beat in their respective divisions of restricted stakes at Aqueduct.

meets 11 other fillies in the $125,000 Fifth Avenue. Both races are restricted to progeny of New York-based stallions.

In the Sleepy Hollow, Classic Park dueled with Sharp Humor through six furlongs in 1:10.91 before giving way late and finishing 1 1/2 lengths behind that rival. Before that, Classic Park had won his previous two races in restricted company, a maiden race at Belmont in June and the New York Breeders' Futurity at Finger Lakes on Sept. 5, beating, among others, Sharp Humor.

"This is the right distance for him," said trainer Mike Hernandez, who has won the Fifth Avenue twice. "It looks like he's trained pretty good since the last race."

Classic Pack will likely play catch-me-if-you-can from the rail under Pablo Fragoso.

are the only other runners in the field to have won a race. Surfing Ian, trained by Todd Pletcher, won his second start by 6 1/4 lengths going 5 1/2 furlongs at Belmont on Oct. 19. While he stretches out, Trick Meeting cuts back in distance. He won a seven-furlong maiden race in the slop by 7 3/4 lengths after finishing third in his debut.

Little Miss Zip, trained by Steve Klesaris, looms the speed of the speed in the Fifth Avenue. She won her maiden at first asking at Belmont and the Lady Finger at Finger Lakes. She was dueled into defeat in the NATC Futurity at Monmouth before running a game third in the Maid of the Mist, beaten three-quarters of a length by the talented Cinderella's Dream.

Hernandez will send out Artistic Express in the Fifth Avenue. Artistic Express won her first two starts, including the Joseph Gimma Stakes, before finishing last in the Maid of the Mist. Artistic Express dueled through a hot half-mile in that race before backing up. Edgar Prado, who was on for Artistic Express's first two wins but not the last race, is back aboard.

"Maybe she didn't want to go a distance," Hernandez said, referring to the Maid of the Mist. "She was right up there and all of a sudden she gave it up. I have Prado back on her again, I hope that makes a difference."

Let Her Be is a live longshot in the Fifth Avenue as she looms the primary closer in a field where the pace should be swift. Princess Sweet, who won a maiden race on Thursday, was entered right back by trainer Linda Rice.