02/07/2002 1:00AM

Another challenge for Maggie's Song


EAST BOSTON, Mass. - Many a story has described the New England Patriots as plucky underdogs who overcame the odds to win the Super Bowl. At least one horse in Saturday's $30,000 Yankee Fashion Stakes, for 3-year-old fillies at six furlongs, can be described similarly.

Maggie's Song has won both her races, including a 9 1/2-length romp in a first-level allowance on Jan. 2. Like the local football team, she has had to overcome adversity to get where she is.

"She almost died on us when we first got her last summer," said her trainer, Wayne Marcoux. "She had some kind of infection or pneumonia," requiring care at Tufts Veterinary School.

"Once she cleared that she had to take the whole summer off, but once we got her back she's done everything just perfectly."

Maggie's Song will have to deal with several other local hopefuls in the field of 10, but her main opponent may be Moonlightandbeauty, who comes north from Aqueduct for trainer Todd Pletcher as a supplemental nomination.

A New York-bred speedster, Moonlightandbeauty will make her first attempt out of statebred company in the Yankee Fashion. She has two wins, in a maiden race and an allowance, but has been seventh and fourth in two stakes, with the fourth-place finish coming in the $75,000 East View at Aqueduct last time out.

My Atalanta, a daughter of Belong to Me, has spent more time at Aqueduct than Suffolk, but she returns to the scene of her last victory. Trained here by Mike Collins, she won a Suffolk allowance by nine lengths in December. Since then she has recorded a fifth and a pair of seconds in three tries with claimers at Aqueduct.

Mrscoppolaskitchen won the Mom's Command Stakes back in October but was off the board in two subsequent attempts.

Hampshire regains lead

Jockeys Joe Hampshire and Winston Thompson have been playing can-you-top-this since the start of the year.

Hampshire turned in the seventh five-win day of his career on Monday, swept the early daily double on Tuesday, and had three victories on Wednesday.

The surge not only pushed him back to the top of the standings locally (Thompson passed him briefly last week), but his 33 victories through Wednesday rank him among the top 10 riders nationally.

First foal for Lambana

Lambana, New England's Horse of the Year in 1999, was bred to another former locally based star, Tour D'Or, and has produced her first foal, a filly, Monday at Land's End Farm in Assonet, Mass.

Campaigned and trained by Marshall Novak, Lambana won all five of her starts on the grass at Rockingham Park in 1999, including the $100,000 Spicy Living Handicap. She was also named claimer of the year in 1999 by the national Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association. Tour D'Or started his racing career at Suffolk Downs in the mid-1980's and ran in the Massachusetts Handicap in 1987 and 1989.