01/31/2009 1:00AM

Distorted Passion has little trouble


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - If Distorted Passion was good enough to win a sprint stakes over Aqueduct's inner track with significant traffic trouble, it only stood to reason she could be just as successful in a similar race with a clean trip.

After a bit of an awkward start, Distorted Passion had smooth sailing the rest of the way en route to a 1 1/2-length victory in Saturday's $70,460 Correction Stakes at Aqueduct. Blowing Kisses rallied to get second by one-half length over Intentional Fever. A Rose for You, the even-money favorite, finished fourth and was followed in the order of finish by Coli Bear and Awesome Chic.

It was the third straight win for Distorted Passion since moving back to the dirt last fall.

In the Foil Stakes here on Dec. 14, Distorted Passion encountered traffic, but bulled through a hole in midstretch and outfinished the talented By the Light to win by a neck.

Saturday, under Rajiv Maragh, Distorted Passion broke awkwardly, and raced in fourth position, about two lengths off the pace established by Coli Bear. Intentional Fever and A Rose for You chased Coli Bear, but neither got close enough to pressure him.

Approaching the quarter pole, Maragh tipped Distorted Passion three wide and she swept past Coli Bear inside the eighth pole. Distorted Passion, a 4-year-old daughter of Distorted Humor owned by Gulf Coast Farms and trained by Todd Pletcher, covered the six furlongs in 1:11.94 and returned $6.40 to win.

"The race played very much in my favor," said Maragh. "I got a clean outside trip, small field, no traffic, and she responded when I asked her."

Jonathan Thomas, Pletcher's assistant, praised Maragh for keeping his filly in contact with the field.

"I thought he read the race really well," Thomas said. "I think he won the race in the first eighth of a mile when he decided not to stay in the back of the pack."

* The stewards fined apprentice jockey Joseph Berrios $2,000 "for failure to finish" Friday's third race. Though Berrios won the race aboard Reptilian Smarts, he stood up at least 20 yards before the wire and taunted jockey Chuck Lopez.

* The stewards also suspended Maragh seven days for careless riding during Friday's eighth race. Maragh was aboard She's Prime, who bumped with eventual winner Lilly of Paradise. Maragh appealed the suspension and will continue to ride.