06/30/2005 12:00AM

Wonder Again gets her course

Wonder Again and Edgar Prado will face six other fillies and mares when they attempt to win the New York Handicap for the second straight year.

ELMONT, N.Y. - As he navigated his way through mud puddles on the Belmont Park backside Thursday morning, trainer James Toner looked up to the heavens and wondered why it wasn't raining some more.

"We didn't get as much rain as they said we would,'' Toner said. "Needless to say we'll be doing our rain dance between now and Saturday.''

Toner is the trainer of Wonder Again, a multiple Grade 1 stakes winner who heads a strong seven-horse field entered in Saturday's Grade 2, $250,000 New York Handicap, a race she won last year. While Wonder Again handles any type of ground, she excels on soft turf. In a competitive race that includes Film Maker, Wend, and Riskaverse, Toner will take any advantage he can get.

"Any kind of moisture in it will be fine,'' Toner said "Just take the sting out of it; that's the main thing.''

won last year's New York Handicap after beginning her campaign by running sixth in the Just a Game Breeders' Cup Handicap. This year, Wonder Again ran third in the Just a Game, having to come six wide into the stretch after saving ground to that point.

"I knew we were in trouble going a mile, but she finished up good the last part of it and galloped out good and strong,'' Toner said.

Wonder Again breaks from the outside post under Edgar Prado and 120 pounds.

, the 121-pound highweight, finished a neck in front of Wonder Again when the two ran second and third in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf. Film Maker began her 5-year-old campaign with a neck victory in the Gallorette Handicap at Pimlico over a turf course labeled good.

"I think it was absolutely as much as you could hope for,'' trainer Graham Motion said. "I actually think my filly is probably a little better on firmer ground.''

has gone 4 for 4 on turf, including a victory in the Hollywood Wildcat Breeders' Cup Handicap at Calder on April 30. Wend could be the main speed under Jerry Bailey.

"We want to try a mile and a quarter and see how she gets along,'' trainer Bill Mott said. "I hope she rates well enough. You don't want her running off going a mile and a quarter.''

Riskaverse beat both Film Maker and Wonder Again in last year's Flower Bowl Invitational over soft Belmont turf. Completing the field are Finery, winner of the Sheepshead Bay Handicap; Vallera, a Group 3 winner in Germany; and Muguet.