03/04/2010 12:00AM

Yet another hot Asmussen pair


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Stop us if you've heard this one before. Steve Asmussen has live runners in a pair of allowance races at Aqueduct.

One day after running the duo of Bearursa and Raynick's Jet in separate New York-bred allowance races over the inner track, the Asmussen barn comes back Friday with an even more potent one-two punch of Mr. Grievance and La Concerto in a pair of second-level allowance races. Mr. Grievance (second race) and La Concerto (third race) have combined for three of the Asmussen barn's 18 wins over the inner track.

Since returning from a 13-month layoff, Mr. Grievance has gone 2 for 2 this winter, winning a statebred maiden race by 17 lengths on Dec. 13 and a first-level New York-bred allowance on Jan. 23 by 5 3/4 lengths. Both times he did it on the lead, and he looms the main speed from the rail under David Cohen on Friday.

"We liked him in the beginning," said Toby Sheets, the New York-based assistant for Asmussen, who also starts Lohan as the 2-1 second choice in the fifth. "Before he ran the first time he was doing pretty wel. He was laid up because of a foot. It wasn't a major, major thing, but it was something that had to have time."

Horses such as Giant Ryan, second at this level on Feb. 18, and Driven by Solar, a winner of two straight since returning from a long layoff himself, provide Mr. Grievance his stiffest competition.

"We're stepping up again, and it's a tough little heat," Sheets said. "Hopefully, we're able to perform similar to last time."

In the third race, Sheets will saddle the New York-bred La Concerto in an open-company second-level allowance race at six furlongs. La Concerto is 3 for 5 over the inner track, including an open-company win two starts back. Last out, at this level, she finished second to the promising Hour Glass, but was 2 1/4 lengths clear of Lights Off Annie, who came back to win last Sunday's Broadway Stakes.

La Concerto will break from the outside post in a field of six under Chuck Lopez.

"I like that spot - he can kind of gauge where everything's at," Sheets said.

Trainer Mark Shuman has entered both Cinderella's Wish and Dubit in the third race, but with Justin Shepherd named on both, one will have to scratch. Cinderella's Wish has not been out since August, when she finished last in the Charles Town Oaks. Dubit finished fourth in a $60,000 claimer here on Jan. 15. Dubit is one of three horses entered for the optional claiming price of $50,000.