01/04/2009 12:00AM

Justwhistledixie delivers in Ruthless

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OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Justwhistledixie lived up to her 2-5 favoritism, taking command just inside the three-sixteenths pole under Rajiv Maragh and drawing clear to a 3 1/2-length victory in Sunday's $70,795 Ruthless Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Aqueduct.

Gnome's Delight rallied to be second, three-quarters of a length ahead of Ocarson. Unveil the Mask, Indian Rush, and Could Be Us completed the order of finish. J.J. Cuvee scratched.

It was the third straight victory for Justwhistledixie, a daughter of Dixie Union owned by the West Point Thoroughbreds and Lakland Farm and trained by Kiaran McLaughlin.

Maragh, riding Justwhistledixie for the first time, was content to lay second as Indian Rush, under Winston Thompson, carved out fractions of 22.41 seconds and 46.65 for the opening half-mile.

Justwhistledixie took over from that rival leaving the three-sixteenths pole and Maragh tapped her a time or two in the stretch to keep her mind on her business. Justwhistledixie, a $425,000 yearling purchase at the Keeneland September auction, ran six furlongs in 1:10.81 and returned $2.80.

"The trip was really pretty simple," Maragh said. "I was on the big favorite, she had a good post, and she has natural speed. The other horse rushed up to take the lead and that gave me the opportunity to use her as a target. Once she made the lead, the race was basically over. I put away the stick at the sixteenth pole, but she started looking at something, so I tapped her once."

Art Magnsuon, the New York-assistant for McLaughlin, said that the Grade 3, $100,000 Cicada Stakes here on March 14 is the major goal this winter for Justwhistledixie. If she needs to run before then, there is the $65,000 Dearly Precious Stakes here on Feb. 14. Both races are at six furlongs.

No one hit the pick six Sunday, resulting in a $39,873 carryover entering Wednesday's card.