03/01/2003 12:00AM

Aqueduct: Elegant Designer holds on


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Elegant Designer had to work a lot harder than she did in her previous races to capture the $81,450 Busher Stakes at Aqueduct, her fourth consecutive victory.

Elegant Designer, the 3-2 favorite in the seven-horse field of 3-year-old fillies, was a head winner over Xtra Heart. It was another neck back to Xtra Heart's entrymate, Virgin Voyage, in third.

Cyber Secret, Golden Damsel, Formal Dancer, and Bavarian Girl completed the order of finish.

Cyber Secret, the second choice, set a comfortable pace in the 1 1/16-mile Busher, with Virgin Voyage pressing her in second. Elegant Designer, under Mario Pino, made a bold move around the far turn and passed the tiring Cyber Secret early in the stretch, but Virgin Voyage didn't give up so easily. Elegant Designer wore down Virgin Voyage in the final yards, while holding off the late-running Xtra Heart.

Elegant Designer ($5) covered the distance on a fast track in 1:45.33.

Elegant Designer was stretching out for the first time after winning five of seven sprints, including the Great State Challenge Juvenile Fillies, her last start before the Busher, on Dec. 7 at Sam Houston.

Trained by Tony Dutrow, Elegant Designer, a daughter of Suave Prospect, is owned by Michael Sherman.

"For her to run like that off a few month layoff in itself is impressive, but considering it was her first time around two turns, it was even more impressive," Dutrow said.