03/05/2005 1:00AM

Magna Graduate scores easily


Magna Graduate, a distant third behind High Fly in the Aventura Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 8, found the competition in the $100,000 at Turfway Park more to his liking Saturday, winning by 3 3/4 lengths.

Ridden by leading jockey Dean Sarvis, Magna Graduate broke on top but was allowed to relax in second, as favored Ultimate, another invader from Florida, shot to the lead. Magna Graduate sat about 1 1/2 lengths behind Ultimate, who posted splits of 23.08 seconds and 46.86 in the early going.

Into the far turn, Ultimate began to slow his pace, covering six furlongs in 1:12. Magna Graduate surged past the tiring leader and dominated thereafter, extending his lead with every stride toward the wire. Pavo rallied from midpack to finish second, 1 1/2 lengths in front of Ultimate, who just lasted for third.

Magna Graduate raced 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.94, paying $8 as the second choice in the field of nine.

A 3-year-old son of Honor Grades, Magna Graduate won for the third time in seven starts. The John Battaglia was his first stakes victory.