06/23/2002 11:00PM

Clean trip key to victory for Lady of the Future

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Lady of the Future and Calista both are late-running turf fillies who sometimes get stopped in traffic.

Lady of the Future got a clean trip in Monday's $100,000 New Castle Handicap at Delaware Park. Calista, the 2-5 favorite, did not.

That explains how Lady of the Future ($17) scored a three-quarter-length victory in the 1 1/8-mile turf race while Calista managed to cross the wire only third in a field reduced to six fillies and mares by five scratches.

The New York-based Calista was moved up to second by the stewards after her rider, Jose Santos, claimed foul against Ramon Dominguez for allowing his mount, Salty You, to interfere with Calista just when she found clear running room in midstretch. Santos said he felt that being pushed out slightly cost him the race.

"The last quarter-mile I went to the inside and I thought I was getting through," said Santos, who was also forced to check Calista from the three-eighths pole to the upper stretch when she got trapped behind a wall of horses."

Dominguez, said Santos, "shut the door, which caused my mount to go outside and drift out. I should have won the race."

Lady of the Future knows all about bad trips. She was blocked in the midst of her rally the last time she faced Calista in last fall's Grade 3 Pebbles Handicap at Belmont Park. She finished fifth in that race, but only 1 1/2 lengths behind a three-horse blanket finish that included runner-up Calista.

In her first start since then earlier this month at Delaware, Lady of the Future broke in the air and was no factor. This time, Lady of the Future, ridden by Mike McCarthy for trainer Tom Greene, had clear sailing as she went from last to first with a six-wide move.

"Today worked out good even though we did not have a really fast pace." McCarthy said. "She was back there and got a perfect covered trip. After that I just ran them down in the lane. She was really good today."

Lady of the Future was timed in 1:48.92 over a firm course.