12/10/2005 12:00AM

Philanthropist re-rallies to win

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Philanthropist (right) inches away at the wire to defeat West Virginia in the Queens County.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - After setting the pace for the first mile of Saturday's Grade 3 at Aqueduct, it appeared as though Philanthropist was about to be swallowed up by several of his four rivals. But after dropping back to third, Philanthropist re-rallied and outfinished West Virginia to win the $105,400 Queens County by a neck.

West Virginia, who looked like the winner in deep stretch, finished two lengths ahead of We Can Seek. Evening Attire, who broke poorly, finished fourth, followed by Trapped Again, the 9-5 favorite. Kentucky shipper Summer Again was scratched because his foal papers were not on file in New York.

It was the third consecutive victory for Philanthropist, a 3-year-old son of Kris S. owned by the Phipps Stable and trained by Shug McGaughey. Eibar Coa rode Philanthropist for his fourth win on the card. Mike Luzzi also rode four winners on the card.

Philanthropist broke sharply and set fractions of 24.07 seconds, 48.80, 1:13.29, and 1:38.62. In midstretch, he was passed by We Can Seek to his inside and West Virginia on the outside. But Philanthropist responded to Coa's left-handed whipping and came back to get his first stakes win. Philanthropist covered the 1 3/16 miles in 1:56.99 and returned $13.20.

"I didn't want to take the break away from him, so I let him be happy," Coa said. "Coming into the stretch I had everybody around me, and they did go by me, and I tried to do everything I could just to keep going and hopefully he'd respond to me, and that's what he did.''

It was the second straight race that West Virginia lost by a neck. Last month, he fell a neck short to Evening Attire in the Grade 3 Stuyvesant.

"You got to give credit to the other horse, he came back,'' said Norberto Arroyo Jr., West Virginia's rider. "My horse didn't give up down the lane. Last time he did. Today, he was running.''

* Trainer Bruce Levine reached the 1,000-win plateau in his career Saturday when Preminger ($4.90) led gate to wire in the seventh race.