04/21/2007 12:00AM

Carmandia trails early, pours it on late


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - As he watched Carmandia trail the field through the first 5 1/2 furlongs of Saturday's Grade 2 Bed o' Roses Breeders' Cup Handicap, trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. began to think the worst.

"I thought we were dead," Dutrow said.

But Carmandia came to life under Mike Luzzi and was able to run down Magnolia Jackson to take the $156,900 Bed o' Roses by two lengths before 4,118 at Aqueduct. Magnolia Jackson, who won this race last year, held second by a half-length over Swap Fliparoo. Any Limit, the even-money favorite, finished fourth in the seven-furlong race after jockey Rafael Bejarano's saddle slipped. Livermore Valley finished last.

The victory was the sixth from 19 career starts for Carmandia, but her third win from four starts over Aqueduct's main track. Last fall, she won the Grade 2 First Flight Handicap, also at seven furlongs over Aqueduct's main track.

"Unbelievable she got up to win this race," said Dutrow, who trains Carmandia for Four Roses Thoroughbreds. "Seven-eighths, fresh, outer track - that's her game. She won two big stakes going [short] over that track. I never would have thought it, training her. I had her for a year before she started winning those kind of races. I was always under the impression she wanted to go a mile and a quarter."

Carmandia was about eight lengths off the pace after a half-mile run in 45.15 seconds. Magnolia Jackson set the pace, chased by Any Limit. Carmandia rallied between horses around the turn, but then cut back to the inside in midstretch as Magnolia Jackson seemed to be pulling away.

When Carmandia switched leads she found another gear and was able to get up and draw clear. Carmandia, a 5-year-old daughter of Wild Rush, covered the seven furlongs in 1:22.98 and returned $7.30 as the second choice.

"I know she likes this track," said Luzzi, who won three races on the card. "I kept thinking sooner or later she's got to kick in. At the eighth pole she finally leveled off. I hit her a few times left-handed and she responded."