03/30/2006 12:00AM

Unknowns take aim at big names


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - There are some well-known names with a bevy of graded stakes wins on their resumes entered in Saturday's $200,000 Excelsior Breeders' Cup Handicap at Aqueduct.

But it may be the horses still seeking their initial graded stakes glory who are the ones to beat in the Grade 3 Excelsior, run at 1 1/8 miles over Aqueduct's main track.

Grade 1 winners may light the marquee, but Colita, Liquor Cabinet, Your Bluffing, and Infinite Glory are most likely to steal the show.

, 0 for 9 in graded stakes, has run two strong races from three starts since having throat surgery last fall. In between those wins, he finished fourth in the Grade 3 Aqueduct Handicap, in which he reportedly threw a shoe.

won two allowance races before finishing second behind Manchurian in the Stymie last out. He should get a ground-saving trip from the rail.

Your Bluffing had a five-race winning streak snapped when he was beaten a neck in a minor stakes at Laurel. Your Bluffing was burdened with a 125-pound weight assignment that day, but trainer Michael Trombetta didn't use that as an excuse. Your Bluffing is winless in five prior trips to New York, but appears to be a different horse now.

"I think it's a step up," Trombetta said, "but I do think it's probably time to take that step."

The connections of Funny Cide were oozing confidence heading into last month's Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap. But Funny Cide was dreadful, dueling three wide for six furlongs before backing up to finish seventh.

"The day of the race he was a little quiet in the paddock, and we were a little suspicious he might not run well, but before that we thought he would put in the best effort he had since the Jockey Club Gold Cup," said Robin Smullen, assistant trainer to Barclay Tagg. "And I think that's what he'll do this time."

If Funny Cide shows the same speed in the Excelsior that he did in the Gulfstream Park Handicap, he could find himself alone on the lead.

Infinite Glory, who missed the Stymie with a sore foot, may have to show speed from post 9.