12/17/2005 12:00AM

Espinoza owns inner dirt stakes


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Jockey Jose Espinoza isn't winning all the races this winter at Aqueduct. He's just winning all the right ones.

Espinoza recorded his third stakes win of Aqueduct's inner-track season on Saturday when he guided India Halo past odds-on favorite Bohemian Lady in deep stretch to win the $82,750 by a head before a crowd of 4,646. It was 2 3/4 lengths back to Taittinger Rose in third.

Espinoza is only 5 for 58 since the inner-track meet opened on Nov. 30, but he has won three of the five stakes run during that span. Espinoza also won the East View with Home and Away and the Damon Runyon with Platinum Couple.

"A little bit lucky," Espinoza said, "and I worked out some pretty nice trips in those races and my horses loved the inner track."

In the Ladies, Espinoza had India Halo down inside early in the race while in fourth position. It got a little bit tight on her entering the clubhouse turn, but down the backside Espinoza guided India Halo into the clear while in the fourth path.

Meanwhile, Bohemian Lady, the 4-5 favorite, set the early pace under Jose Santos while being chased by After the Tone. Bohemian Lady ran three-quarters in 1:15.74 before After the Tone took the lead from her at the half-mile pole. Bohemian Lady regained the lead from After the Tone turning for home, but India Halo rallied past her in deep stretch to get the victory.

India Halo, a 5-year-old Argentine-bred daughter of Halo Sunshine trained by James Ferraro and owned by Blue Sky Farm, covered the 1 1/4 miles in 2:05.26 and returned $16.40 to win.

"I got a little bit in trouble in the first turn, but then I took her outside and she loved it outside,'' Espinoza said. "I asked her at the three-eighths pole, and she likes to run all day.''

Santos said he loved his trip aboard Bohemian Lady and had no excuse.

"My filly was very relaxed the whole way around," he said. "She was digging in when I called her and she opened up a length, and the other filly came and got her."