11/05/2004 12:00AM

Pa Pa Da spotted for first stakes win


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - A year ago at Aqueduct, Pa Pa Da finished third as the favorite in the Great White Way, a division of the New York Stallion Stakes. On Sunday, Pa Pa Da will be among the favorites in the Cormorant division of the New York Stallion Stakes.

The $100,000 Cormorant, a mile race on the turf, is one of four stakes restricted to the progeny of New York stallions on Sunday's card. The other races are the $125,000 Great White Way for 2-year-olds, the $125,000 Fifth Avenue for 2-year-old fillies, and the $100,000 Perfect Arc for female turf runners.

Nine were entered in the Cormorant, plus main-track-only horses West Virginia and Chowder's First.

The Cormorant looks like a good opportunity for to earn his first stakes win. Pa Pa Da, a son of Incurable Optimist, won a statebred allowance race on the turf 15 days ago at Belmont Park, defeating Unnerving, who also is entered in the Cormorant.

Although Pa Pa Da is stakes placed on the dirt, he might be better on the turf, where he won his maiden at a mile by 3 1/2 lengths last year. In February at Gulfstream, Pa Pa Da finished third behind one of the top turf horses in the country, Kitten's Joy, in the Grade 3 Palm Beach.

Pa Pa Da's trainer, Dave Donk, will equip the 3-year-old with blinkers.

"It looked like he was going to go right by, but he didn't," Donk said of Pa Pa Da's half-length win in his last start.

Jose Espinoza rides Pa Pa Da, who drew post 4.

Unnerving, a son of Dixie Brass, set the pace and didn't give up fighting the day Pa Pa Da defeated him.

"He's a big colt, who is improving," said Phil Serpe, Unnerving's trainer.

Edgar Prado rides Unnerving from post 9.

, also a son of Incurable Optimist, has earned Beyer Speed Figures in the 80's in his last four starts and could win in the absence of any standouts in the field. Theconfidenceman makes a quick turnaround after finishing second here on Oct. 29.

Trainer Del Carroll II, who won this race last year with Quantum Merit, entered half-brothers Levendis and Thanasi, who are coupled in the wagering.

West Virginia and Chowder's First are the ones to beat if the Cormorant is run on the main track.