02/12/2008 12:00AM

Waytotheleft one to beat off her last


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Horseplayers familiar with the long-running "I Love New York" ad campaign may get their hearts broken on Valentine's Day. Barring an 11th-hour solution to the apparently stalemated franchise negotiations, the New York Racing Association was set to shut down racing operations at the conclusion of Wednesday's card.

Should Thursday's program go forward, the feature is race 3, a $52,000 optional claimer at six furlongs for older fillies and mares.

Waytotheleft, a sharp winner first time off a $45,000 claim by trainer Tony Dutrow, drew the outside in a field of five and looms the one to beat despite shouldering 123 pounds.

Waytotheleft, a 6-year-old New York-bred, won twice on the inner track last winter, including a 22-1 upset in the Broadway Handicap. She appears to be rounding back to that form based on her last effort, when she stalked a duel and drove clear in a $35,000 starter handicap third time back from a layoff.

"She had a little breaks and she likes the inner track," said Dutrow. "Her last race was good - it makes me feel like she's back to herself."

Three of the four runners drawn inside Waytotheleft are new faces.

Monterey Bay posted three victories at Finger Lakes and has been idle for six months.

Cowgirls Don't Cry won 2 of 4 starts as a 2-year-old, including a $50,000 stakes at Ellis Park. She makes her first start in just over 18 months.

Casse, a shipper from Laurel Park, faded after chasing the early pace in the recent Nellie Morse Stakes.

Wild Garden was a front-running maiden winner here Dec. 26 and won a first-level allowance at Philadelphia Park 24 days later. The New Farm homebred steps up seeking her third straight victory, and is the one to catch.

* Lord Snowdon, the last-to-first winner of the recent Paumonok Handicap, breezed an easy half-mile in 51.83 seconds at Aqueduct on Tuesday. "I just wanted to let him get out there and do a little something, because the weather's supposed to get bad," said Dutrow, who trains him.