02/05/2005 12:00AM

Lavender Lass one of many surprises


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - The first surprise of the day occurred when the thermometer reached 50 degrees at Aqueduct. It was not the only surprise.

On a day when every winner paid double-digit mutuels, Lavender Lass held off favored Bank Audit to win Saturday's $78,375 Correction Handicap by a half-length. It was another half-length back to Santa Croce. High Peaks and Travelator completed the order of finish.

It was the first stakes win for Lavender Lass, a 5-year-old daughter of Skip Trial who was making her 30th career start.

Lavender Lass broke sharply, but jockey Rafael Bejarano reined her in to let High Peaks set the pace. Lavender Lass stalked High Peaks from second through fractions of 23.24 seconds and 47.02 before taking command at the three-sixteenths pole. Bank Audit, the 1-2 favorite and 120-pound highweight, broke last and made only a mild bid in the stretch.

Lavender Lass, owned by Lucky Lavender Stable and trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, covered the six furlongs in 1:12.86 over a fast inner track and paid $17.40 to win. Bejarano, the meet's leading rider, won his first inner track stakes.

"The other horse had more speed," Bejarano said. "She passed me very easy so I took my time, and at the three-eighths pole I saw he asked his horse so I tried to follow him - and when I asked my horse at the quarter pole she finished strong,"

Norberto Arroyo Jr. said Bank Audit broke a step slowly was trying to get out a little down the backside.

"The whole thing was the break," Arroyo said. "She broke a step slowly. I was expecting to break ahead of [Travelator] and place myself in a better spot, but she broke ahead of me and it was rough after that."

In the nightcap, one-two finishers Sassy Again (41-1) and Contemptuous (89-1) triggered a superfecta payout of $114,627. The lone winning ticket of 8-9-2-6 was sold at Connecticut Off-Track Betting.