11/08/2003 12:00AM

Caught in the Rain does her thing


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Caught in the Rain on Saturday continued her knack of winning stakes by narrow margins at long prices as she rallied to win a three-horse photo in the Grade 3, $113,000 Athenia Handicap at Aqueduct.

Rallying five wide in the stretch under Richard Migliore, Caught in the Rain got up in the final stride to nip Lojo by a nose. It was another nose back to Coney Kitty. Something Ventured, the 2-1 favorite, finished fourth, a half-length farther back.

The victory was the sixth in 15 starts for Caught in the Rain, a Pennsylvania-bred daughter of Petionville owned by Heiligbrodt Stable and Walter New and trained by Guadalupe Preciado. Caught in the Rain returned $31.60 as the second-longest price in the eight-horse field.

Last year, Caught in the Rain won the Mrs. Penny Stakes at Philadelphia Park at 31-1 and the Grade 3 Mrs. Revere Stakes at Churchill at 32-1. She won both those races by a neck.

In her stakes wins last year, Caught in the Rain raced close to the pace. Saturday, Caught in the Rain raced in seventh position while Something Ventured and Affirmed Dancer set a pedestrian pace of 25 seconds and 51 for the opening half-mile.

Caught in the Rain was fanned five wide turning for home, just outside Coney Kitty, while Lojo was rallying up the rail under Shaun Bridgmohan. Caught in the Rain and Coney Kitty were together in deep stretch, with Caught in the Rain getting up late. Caught in the Rain covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:47.05.

"I anticipated being closer to the pace, but when she [came out of gate] she didn't get with it so I just said we'll relax and when you're ready to go then we'll go,'' said Migliore, who added he took his filly wide in search of better footing.

Preciado said he was concerned when he saw Caught in the Rain so far back down the backside behind the slow fractions.

"Most of the time horses don't close on the soft ground, but she finished good,'' Preciado said. "I never thought she'd get there in time.''