07/18/2003 11:00PM

Island Fashion runs away with Oaks


STANTON, Del. - A filly whose only previous win came at Sunland Park and a jockey who's not even among the top 10 riders at his home track in California stole the show from the supposed stars in Saturday's Delaware Oaks.

Island Fashion ($20.20) and her jockey, Iggy Puglisi, demolished a good field of 3-year-old fillies to win the Grade 3, $500,000 Oaks by a surprising 6 1/2 lengths. Her time for 1 1/16 miles was 1:44.20.

Awesome Humor, the even-money favorite, was a distant second. Previously unbeaten Sue's Good News finished sixth.

Puglisi rode Island Fashion when she won her maiden in the $250,000 WinStar/Sunland Park Oaks in March, but he was replaced by Pat Valenzuela in the Kentucky Oaks, a race in which Island Fashion finished seventh.

"I was disappointed [to lose the mount], but I understand that's how the game is played," Puglisi said. "When she came back from Kentucky, I worked her to get her ready for this race."

Puglisi said that although Island Fashion is stabled at Santa Anita with trainer Nick Canani, she had a key workout at Hollywood Park.

Canani announced this week that he had accepted a job training a string of horses for owner Michael Gill at the Bowie Training Center in Maryland and that he would be disbanding his California stable.

Cherokee Lite, winner of her last four races all in New York, was declared a nonstarter by the stewards when the gate opened before jockey Javier Castellano had remounted the filly after she acted up while standing in the starting gate.

The undefeated Hennie's Song, winner of her first five career starts, was scratched Saturday morning by trainer Steve Klesaris because of an ulcer in her eye. Although Klesaris said Hennie's Song was able to train, she could not race on the medication she was taking to clear up the condition.

* Alternate ($27.40) proved to be a capable substitute for trainer Graham Motion. Entered in the $150,000 Robert G. Dick Memorial Breeders' Cup Handicap only because stablemate New Economy, who won the race last year, was unable to race due to a foot abscess, Alternate won for the first time on turf in the 1 3/8-mile stakes for fillies and mares.

* Private Lap ($3.80) outbattled Bag of Mischief through the stretch to win the $100,000 R.R.M. Carpenter Jr. Memorial Handicap by a length.