11/12/2007 12:00AM

Who won't regress off Beyer top?

EmailOZONE PARK, N.Y. - How fast is too fast? That question is apropos to Wednesday's $75,000, six-furlong Maria's Mon Stakes at Aqueduct, in which several 3-year-old sprinters come off peak races.

A late-summer freshening worked wonders for Roi Maudit. He was a stylish winner in both his starts at Belmont's fall meet, beating maidens and first-level allowance rivals with stalk-and-pounce trips and recording Beyer Speed Figures of 94 and 103. He is taking the steepest class rise among this group, but in his current form it may not matter.

Leonardo ran away from second-level allowance foes in the mud last month, earning a Beyer of 105. He had previously recorded a figure of 100 on a fast track, however, so the real key may have been the addition of blinkers. Destefano put them on a race after Leonardo ran third as the even-money favorite under Garrett Gomez in the Bergen County at the Meadowlands.

"The mud didn't hurt, but the blinkers had more of an effect," said trainer John Destefano. "Gomez felt he was the best horse in the Bergen County, but felt he wasn't concentrating and said, 'I'd get blinkers on this horse.' He's training very well since then; I think he's going to run a very good race."

I Ain't No Saint ran a new Beyer top of 98 last out, rallying for second in the slop at Monmouth Park during Breeders' Cup week. Though that was his 17th start, it was also his first start off a $60,000 claim by David Jacobson, the leading trainer heading into Week 4 of the fall meet.

Natural Speed has won 4 of his last 7 races, his wins coming in maiden and allowance races on fast and wet dirt in the Midwest, and most recently the $56,000 Great Falls Stakes on turf at the Meadowlands.

"He tries hard every time," said Toby Sheets, assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen. "He's a cool horse to be around, and he does everything right."

Natural Speed breaks from the rail, the first time he has been in that position since his first two starts of the year.

* According to Plan, plagued by troubled starts in the Schuylerville and Tempted stakes following an impressive debut win, drops into a first-level allowance and switches to turf in race 2. Cato Major, second in the $200,000 Happy Ticket Stakes at Louisiana Downs, figures to be favored in the one-mile race for 2-year-old fillies.