03/08/2008 1:00AM

Armonk ships in from New York to score


Armonk easily handled her first trip out of New York and her initial experience racing over a sloppy track as she cruised to a 2 1/2-length victory in the $52,800 Wide Country Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Laurel Park.

A daughter of Mizzen Mast trained by Kiaran McLaughlin for owner Jeff Singer, Armonk ($4.20) had been Grade 2-placed last fall and was coming off a near-miss in last month's Dearly Precious at Aqueduct.

Rather than dueling for the lead, as she did last time, jockey Julian Pimentel, allowed Armonk to sit off the pace set by 9-1 longshot Kosmo's Buddy.

"I wasn't worried about that horse," said Pimentel, who was riding Armonk for the first time. "I tried to get my horse to relax and make one run."

Armonk drew nearly even with the pacesetter entering the stretch, edged in front at the eighth pole, and widened her margin despite drifting in the final yards. She covered the seven furlongs in 1:26.83.

Hartigan, the 2-1 second choice, rallied for second, 3 1/4 lengths in front of Kosmo's Buddy. The previously unbeaten Saki to Me, the 7-2 third choice, finished fourth.