01/14/2010 12:00AM

Unfamiliar names double up


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Those who cashed the $412.50 late daily double at Aqueduct on Wednesday probably had no idea on whose horses they were wagering.

Little-known trainers Alexander DeRosa and Bobbi Rossi combined to win the last two races Wednesday, with DeRosa saddling Sawtooth Mountain ($45.80) and Rossi winning with Pay the Fare ($13).

For DeRosa, it was his first winner since 2003, the year in which he retired from training. For Rossi, it was her first victory after beginning her training career last February.

DeRosa, 63, is a retired New York City police officer who trained horses for short periods of time in the 1980s and again from 1999-2003. His last starter came on Dec. 28, 2003, with his last winner having come nine months earlier. DeRosa was persuaded to return to training by Justin Sallusto, a former trainer for whom DeRosa once worked as an assistant, and Nick Sallusto, Justin's son and a prominent bloodstock agent. The Sallustos gave DeRosa a couple of young horses, Stay Classy and Gabby's Wild Cat, both of whom are unstarted 3-year-old fillies.

DeRosa, whose nickname is "Chipper," claimed Sawtooth Mountain for $25,000 from trainer Todd Pletcher on Dec. 30, a day Sawtooth Mountain won by a neck. DeRosa claimed the horse on behalf of himself and partners Frank Micali, Joe Reynolds, and Jim Lods, who race as Black Chip Stable. In his previous incarnation as a trainer, DeRosa trained for Micali and Reynolds.

Sawtooth Mountain was originally purchased for $1 million by Michael Tabor and Susan Magnier and began his career in Ireland with Aidan O'Brien. He was transferred to Pletcher where in his last three starts, all for a claiming tag, Sawtooth Mountain had two seconds and a win. Wednesday's race was a first-level allowance race.

"It was a thrill," DeRosa said Thursday morning. "I still can't believe the horse won, it was a tough race."

Rossi, 41, has four horses in training at Belmont and three more on the farm. A former interior designer, Rossi got into Thoroughbred racing in 2002, working for trainer Jimmy Ferraro and Kathleen Feron at John Hettinger's Akindale Farm. Rossi said she grew up around horses as her grandfather was in the Standardbred business.

After the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Rossi said, "I decided to do something I loved instead of something that pays well."

Rossi went winless with 23 starters in 2009, including four starts out of Pay the Fare, who had a second and a third at this level.

"I was happy that she finally won," said Rossi, who trains Pay the Fare for Diane Parker. "She did it pretty easy."

Rossi said both the one hotwalker and one groom she employs were not able to attend the races Wednesday, so even though her cell phone was ringing constantly she couldn't pick it up because "I had her at the end of a shank" in the post-race testing barn.

Rossi hopes to be back in the winner's circle soon with Best Note, who has a second and two thirds for Rossi since coming to her barn. Rossi planned to enter Best Note for a maiden race Wednesday.

Hatfield may be going to Dubai

A week before he hopes to be running Eightyfiveinafifty in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, trainer Gary Contessa may be thousands of miles away in Dubai, where he may run Hatfield in the $1 million Al Quoz Sprint Handicap at six furlongs on turf at the new Meydan track.

Contessa said he received a call from a Dubai racing representative on Wednesday night asking Contessa if he would nominate Hatfield, winner of the Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint on Jan. 9, to the Al Quoz. Contessa said that horses have to be nominated in order to get invited.

"If I get invited, I'd like to go," Contessa said. "He's as fast as anybody on turf. The race the other day represented the best of our turf sprinters, so why not?"

Contessa said there is a race on Feb. 14 at Gulfstream for which Hatfield is eligible that he would like to use as a prep for the Al Quoz.

Weathered scores in Darlin Momma

Weathered enjoyed a return to the inner track and a return to New York-bred competition by recording a 3 1/4-length victory in Thursday's $60,000 Darlin Momma Stakes. Gold for the Queen, who dueled with Weathered early, finished second, seven lengths ahead of third-place finisher By the Light.

It was the fourth victory from seven starts on the inner track for Weathered, a 5-year-old daughter of Key Contender owned by Edward Shapoff's Chevalier Stable and trained by Karl Grusmark. Mike Luzzi rode the winner.

Weathered stalked Gold for the Queen early, forged to the lead five furlongs from home, and then bumped with Gold for the Queen entering the far turn. Luzzi bided his time before asking Weathered to run turning for home, and she responded. Weathered, who covered 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.58 and returned $5.40 as the favorite, is now 11 for 24 in her career.

Affectionately appears wide open

Grusmark hopes his stakes success continues Sunday when he sends out Yet Again in search of a repeat victory in the $65,000 Affectionately. Yet Again won the Affectionately last year by 2 3/4 lengths at 8-1 odds, but is only 1 for 11 since.

This year's field appears to be wide open. Tidal Dance and Saxet Heights, the second- and third-place finishers from the Snit Stakes here Dec. 12, look like the top choices, while Pumpkin Shell, who won the Busanda Stakes as a 3-year-old over the inner track, makes her third start off a layoff.

By the Light was entered in the Affectionately before she was beaten 10 lengths in the Darlin Momma. She looks better suited to sprint distances.

Yes She's a Lady and All Night Labor complete the Affectionately field.