02/07/2004 12:00AM

It's Little Matth Man - from last to first


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Little Matth Man had already shown the ability to handle two turns, Aqueduct's inner track, and a wet surface. He used all that experience to his advantage Saturday when he rallied from last to win the $82,875 Whirlaway Stakes for 3-year-olds.

Risky Trick, who received a perfect trip behind a three-ply speed battle, settled for second, 1 1/2 lengths ahead of the front-running favorite Quick Action. Christian Anthony, Jaglander, Acclimate, and Sinister G completed the order of finish.

Little Matth Man, a son of Matty G, won a New York-bred entry-level allowance race on Dec. 31, his first start for trainer Martin Ciresa. Owner Vincent Papandrea moved Little Matth Man from Leah Gyarmati to Ciresa on Dec. 10.

While Little Matth Man's final time for that race [1:43.94] was uninspiring, Ciresa said the colt came out of the race in excellent condition.

"After the last win he just got some attitude and he started training like a good horse," said Ciresa, who is based at Philadelphia Park.

Under Pablo Fragoso, Little Matth Man was last, more than 15 lengths off the pace as Acclimate, Quick Action, and Sinister G battled heads apart through an opening half-mile in 46.74 seconds.

Little Matth Man rallied along the rail around the turn, was guided off the fence turning for home, and inside the eighth pole blew past Quick Action, who had put away his two pace challengers.

Little Matth Man ($21.40) covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.78 over a muddy track.

Little Matth Man was not an early Triple Crown nominee, but can be nominated by March 27 for a fee of $6,000. Ciresa said Papandrea plans to do just that.

Ciresa did not know where Little Matth Man would run next, but wants to keep him at two turns, which rules out the Gotham here on March 20.