04/22/2006 12:00AM

'Magnolia' leaves Smuggler in her dust


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - New York-breds swept Saturday's graded stakes at Aqueduct on turf and dirt, as the 7-year-old gelding Foreverness won the Grade 3 , a race in which returning Eclipse Award champion Smuggler trailed throughout.

Magnolia Jackson bobbled a bit at the start of the seven-furlong Bed o' Roses, but recovered to press second choice Trickle of Gold through moderate early fractions of 23.53 and 46.66 seconds. Magnolia Jackson gained a short lead in midstretch, and fought off Grecian Lover to prevail by a neck in 1:23.87 over a main track that was fast but sealed under showery conditions and contained moisture.

Grecian Lover was a length in front of Annika Lass, who finished a tough-luck third after racing in traffic through the stretch. Trickle of Gold faded to fourth, and 3-year-old filly champion Smuggler never got untracked and finished last of five, beaten slightly more than four lengths at even-money.

"It was good to get her back going," said Shug McGaughey of Smuggler, who had not started in nine months since winning the Coaching Club American Oaks. "The horses in front of her were kind of walking. She flattened out a little bit more than I thought she would. I wish they wouldn't have sealed the track, but that's not my call."

Now 7-2-0 from 11 career starts, Magnolia Jackson earned $95,040 from the $155,400 purse for owner Ted Taylor, while winning past six furlongs for the first time. She paid $11.60 as the fourth choice.

"Maybe now she'll get a little respect," said winning trainer Gary Contessa. "I think this could be a nice springboard to a mile race. I was a little bit worried about her over a sealed track, but she handles everything."

Foreverness crushed his five rivals in the Fort Marcy, the first graded turf stakes of the New York season, and for good measure his fellow statebreds Pa Pa Da and Charimount finished second and fourth, respectively.

Foreverness, whose last win had been an optional claimer with third-level allowance conditions at Pimlico back on May 1, 2004, raced within striking distance of pacesetter Ecclesiastic to the top of the stretch, and accelerated away from the field to win by 4 1/2 lengths after 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.99 on wet-firm turf. He paid $26 as the fifth choice.

"When I asked my horse on the turn, I wasn't sure how much run he was going to give me, but as soon as he switched leads he had another gear," said winning rider Eibar Coa.

Pa Pa Da edged 6-5 choice Sabre d'Argent for third. Charimount, Ecclesiastic and Big Booster completed the order of the finish.