11/27/2003 12:00AM

Blame it on the fractions: Bossanova wires


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - They couldn't catch Bossanova.

Getting away to a clean start under Edgar Prado, Bossanova made the lead effortlessly, set moderate fractions, and held on for a one-half length victory over Papua in Thursday's Grade 3, $108,300 Fall Highweight Handicap before a Thanksgiving Day crowd of 4,337 at Aqueduct.

Savoy Special, who stumbled leaving the gate, chased Bossanova early, but had to settle for third. Speed Hunter finished fourth followed by Peeping Tom and Vodka.

It was the first graded stakes win for Bossanova, a 3-year-old New York bred son of Pine Bluff owned by Rod and Lorraine Rodriguez and trained by James Bond. Bossanova is now 4 for 9 and pushed his career earnings to $234,426.

Two starts back, Bossanova was beaten as the 7-10 favorite in the Hudson Handicap for New York-breds primarily because he had to run an opening quarter in 21.72 seconds. Thursday, Bossanova got his first quarter in 22.88 seconds, his half-mile in 45.80 and covered the six furlongs in 1:10.06. Sent off the 8-5 favorite, Bossanova returned $5.40.

"It's a lot easier when you can go 22 and four rather than 21 and four," Prado said. "He's getting better all the time. I really like him."

Bond, speaking from Florida, said he would probably give Bossanova a break and point him to a 4-year-old campaign.

"I really thought he won this race in the first quarter," Bond said. "Edgar rode a tremendous race with him."

As a 3-year-old Bossanova, had to carry only 128 pounds in the Fall Highweight. He was in receipt of 10 pounds from Peeping Tom, a Grade 1 winner, who seemed unable to handle the 138-pound impost.

"I'm sure that had something to do with it," said Peeping Tom's jockey, Shaun Bridgmohan, "He never gave me any kind of run."