12/29/2003 1:00AM

Aqueduct: Kappes, Weaver get first stakes wins


Steven Kappes and George Weaver both recorded their first stakes wins as trainers on Sunday as Kappes saddled Salute Him to victory in the $86,375 Alex M. Robb Handicap and Weaver won the $60,750 Open Mind Stakes with Fond.

Salute Him, a 5-year-old gelded son of Sea Salute, had gone winless in 11 starts this year and finished sixth at 61-1 in last year's Alex M. Robb, restricted to New York-breds. Sunday, Salute Him received a ground-saving trip under Richard Migliore and drew clear for the 4 1/4-length score.

Salute Him covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.48 and returned $17.60 to win.

One race earlier, Fond outsprinted Royal Magician for the lead entering the first turn, then was able to slow the pace down and hold on for a 1 1/4-length victory in the Open Mind Stakes for juvenile fillies. Tattinger Rose finished second, 1 1/4 lengths ahead of odds-on favorite Dr. Kathy.