07/01/2005 11:00PM

Last early, Wend rallies to win New York 'Cap

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ELMONT, N.Y. - As Bill Mott watched the opening half-mile of Saturday's $250,000 unfold at Belmont Park, he began to feel nauseated.

The Mott-trained Wend, who had been forwardly placed in all four of her turf victories, was last of six under Jerry Bailey after a half-mile run in a pedestrian 52.15 seconds.

"When I saw the fractions and where she was, I wanted to throw up," Mott said.

But Wend recovered from a rough start to win Saturday's Grade 2 New York Handicap - her fifth consecutive victory - by a neck over favored Wonder Again. It was another neck to Film Maker in third.

Riskaverse, Finery, and Muguet completed the order of finish.

Bailey had to change tactics after Wend bit her tongue on the way to the gate and acted up while inside the gate. When she broke, Wend slipped and stumbled and was last. Because the opening fraction was so slow, 26.06, Bailey said he thought about taking Wend to the outside and toward the front. Wend got rank, however, so Bailey tucked her in behind horses.

"She was surprisingly good going that slow, because if they're going 52 she's going 53, and she's certainly not used to that," Bailey said. "I thought if by some chance I could get up there without using her much and get the advantage on everybody and bust off before they did, I'd have a chance."

Midway down the backstretch, Wend advanced to third, outside of Muguet and Riskaverse. Riskaverse and Wend hooked up at the three-eighths pole, and Wend was able to run past her in the stretch while holding off the late-running Wonder Again.

Wend, a daughter of Pulpit owned and bred by Claiborne Farm, covered the 1 1/4 miles in 2:02.23 over a good turf course and returned $5.70 to win.

Edgar Prado, the jockey of Wonder Again, elected not to move when Wend made her move, and Wonder Again could not catch her in the stretch.

"He said he could've went at the three-eighth pole, but then it's a three-eighth of a mile run, so what do you do?" said Jimmy Toner, the trainer of Wonder Again. "When we turned into the lane I thought we had a shot to pick her up, but I think the other filly had something left, too."