03/13/2006 1:00AM

Aqueduct: Magnolia Jackson takes third in row


Magnolia Jackson continued her and her trainer's torrid winter by wearing down a stubborn Sweet Sweet to win the $70,995 Broadway Handicap for New York-bred fillies and mares at Aqueduct.

It was the third consecutive victory for Magnolia Jackson, who last month took the Correction Handicap versus open company. It was the meet-leading 53rd victory of the winter for trainer Gary Contessa, who owns a 21-win advantage over Bruce Levine.

Magnolia Jackson, under Ramon Dominguez, bobbled at the break and rated in fourth position early while Sweet Sweet, under Eibar Coa, raced off to a 1 1/2-length lead through an opening quarter-mile in 22.35 seconds. Racing three wide, Magnolia Jackson moved into second entering the far turn. She reached Sweet Sweet in upper stretch and was able to edge clear in the final yards to win by 1 1/4 lengths.

Magnolia Jackson covered the six furlongs over a good track in 1:11.81 and returned $3.60 as the odds-on favorite.

"My filly didn't get off all that well, but I didn't want to rush her into the race," Dominguez said. "I took a hold and let her regroup. Once she got herself going, she was very game."

Though Contessa mentioned before the race that Magnolia Jackson likes four or five weeks between races, he is considering wheeling her back in 13 days in the Grade 2, $150,000 Distaff Handicap on March 25. That race, like Magnolia Jackson's last three wins, is run at six furlongs over the inner track.