11/26/2004 1:00AM

Daydreaming's star rises with Top Flight win

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Storm Flag Flying is heading to the breeding shed, but trainer Shug McGaughey and the Phipps family may have a replacement in Daydreaming.

Daydreaming won her second straight graded stakes, taking the lead approaching the sixteenth pole and then holding off a late run from an unlucky Bending Strings to win Friday's Grade 2, $150,000 by a nose before 5,570 at Aqueduct. It was 2 1/4 lengths back to Roar Emotion in third.

After racing poorly in a pair of graded stakes earlier this year, Daydreaming, a 3-year-old daughter of A.P. Indy, has now won the Indiana Breeders' Cup Oaks and Top Flight. She also ran well in the Grade 1 Gazelle, where she was beaten one length by Stellar Jayne.

In the Top Flight, Daydreaming settled into fourth position under Jerry Bailey as Tempus Fugit and Pop Princess dueled through early fractions of 23.87 seconds and 46.88. Roar Emotion was stalking those two while Daydreaming and Bending Strings were fourth and fifth down the backside.

Roar Emotion and Daydreaming came three and four wide, respectively, into the stretch while Shaun Bridgmohan guided Bending Strings from the two path to the five path. Roar Emotion made the lead at the eighth pole, but was quickly pounced upon by Daydreaming, who easily put away Roar Emotion.

Bending Strings drifted out under four left-handed cracks from Bridgmohan's whip. Bridgmohan straightened Bending Strings out, but it was too late to catch Daydreaming, who covered the mile in 1:35.29 over a fast track and returned $4.10 as the favorite.

"I was after her, but she still wasn't giving me everything she had," Bailey said. "She thought she had it won after she put Roar Emotion away. But the last two jumps you could feel her give you another surge. I think she'll be very good next year."

Daydreaming will begin next year at Gulfstream with the Apple Blossom at Oaklawn in April as an early-season objective, McGaughey said.