01/26/2004 12:00AM

Aqueduct: Island Sand gets perfect ride


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Apprentice jockey Pablo Fragoso and the 3-year-old filly Island Sand continued their winning ways, as Fragoso gave Island Sand a perfect ride to win the $80,375 Busanda Stakes at Aqueduct.

It was the third consecutive victory for Island Sand, a daughter of Tabasco Cat, and it capped a week in which Fragoso rode nine winners to vault to the top of the inner-track jockey standings. Fragoso, a finalist for the Eclipse Award as the nation's top apprentice, also won his second career stakes.

A patient Fragoso let Island Sand settle into fourth position early, while Fond, Leedle Dee, and Darn Wild vied for the early lead through an opening half-mile run in 47.52 seconds. Around the far turn, Island Sand was shuffled back to eighth, while a still-patient Fragoso bided his time. Fragoso guided Island Sand off the rail approaching the quarter pole, and took her to the center of the track in the upper stretch. Tempting Note seized the lead and maintained a 2 1/2-length advantage at the furlong marker, but Island Sand blew past that one inside the sixteenth pole en route to the 1 1/2-length victory.

Island Sand, owned by James Osborne and trained by Tony Dutrow, covered the mile and 70 yards in 1:43.04 and returned $6.40 as the 2-1 second choice. Fait Accompli finished third, followed by Taittinger Rose, the slight favorite.

Island Sand, based in Maryland, will most likely return to Aqueduct for the $75,000 Busher Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on Feb. 28.