12/12/2003 12:00AM

Queen's Triomphe proving Bush right


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - After putting the saddle on Queen's Triomphe for the Montauk Handicap on Nov. 30 at Aqueduct, trainer Tom Bush glanced at the toteboard and was amazed to see how high Queen's Triomphe's odds were.

Minutes later, Bush was in the winner's circle with Queen's Triomphe, who won the restricted Montauk by 2 1/4 lengths and returned $130. Bush was kicking himself for not betting on Queen's Triomphe but not at all surprised she won the race, her first stakes.

Bush said he had an inkling Queen's Triomphe was a good horse when he worked her in company with El Gran Papa, a stakes winner with earnings of more than $600,000, and saw that Queen's Triomphe was able to keep up with him.

"That proved to me she had quality," said Bush, who began training Queen's Triomphe in October for owner Gregory Kelly.

Bush is now pointing Queen's Triomphe to Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 Ladies Handicap at Aqueduct, which will be run at 1 1/4 miles.

A 5-year-old New York-bred, Queen's Triomphe is 5 for 7 this year. She beat a good field in the 1 1/8-mile Montauk, including stakes winners Message Red and Princess Dixie. The Ladies might not attract a field that is much tougher than that of the Montauk, but Queen's Triomphe has never been tested at 1 1/4 miles.

"I guess I'm not 100-percent sure about the distance," Bush said. "I'm not totally familiar with the female side of Queen's Triomphe's family, and [her sire] Cure the Blues doesn't jump out at me for a distance pedigree, but she finished plenty strong in the Montauk."

Bush was scheduled to work Queen's Triomphe at Belmont on Saturday.

Weights for the Ladies are due out Sunday. Among the probables are Pocus Hocus, Caught in the Rain, Julie's Prize, Retroactive, and Savedbythelight.

Stephan's Angel still unbeaten

Stephan's Angel remained undefeated in three starts after winning Friday's $60,600 Mom's Command Stakes for 2-year-old fillies. Stephan's Angel, the 3-2 favorite with Richard Migliore aboard, was an impressive 5 1/2-length winner over Sweet Vision. It was another two lengths back to Forest Music in third.

Stephan's Angel ($5) covered the six furlongs in 1:10.94 over a fast track.

Stephan's Angel trailed the field down the backstretch and came with a powerful move in the final furlong to collar pacesetter Forest Music.

In the Mom's Command, Stephan's Angel was making her first start for trainer John Servis and owner Fox Hill Farm, who bought her privately after she won a Nov. 15 allowance race at Laurel.

Golden Damsel takes pass on Ladies

Golden Damsel, a winner of an allowance race Thursday, is nominated to the Ladies but will skip it in favor of the $100,000 Affectionately Handicap on Jan. 10.

A 3-year-old New York-bred, Golden Damsel set the pace in Thursday's mile and 70-yard race and held off a late charge by Stake to win by three-quarters of a length. It was Golden Damsel's first win since her runaway victory in the Bouwerie Stakes at Aqueduct in May. After the Bouwerie, Golden Damsel was sidelined with a fractured knee. She returned in the Perfect Arc, a turf stakes on Nov. 9, and finished fourth. She ran next in the Montauk and was fourth again.

"I don't think I did the best training job with her, in the way I pressed her to run in the [Perfect Arc] and then threw her right back in the Montauk," said Gary Contessa, Golden Damsel's trainer. "That's what I wanted to see [Thursday]. It was a good prep for the Affectionately, and she was valiant in the win because I think the half-mile in [47.86] kind of hurt her."

Contessa had to scratch Unswept, a New York-bred, from a Friday allowance race, because Unswept injured himself in his stall Thursday.

Unswept, who finished second in last year's Damon Runyon and third in the Fred Capossela in January, cut his nose when he wedged it into a small space between his water bucket and a screw-eye. Contessa said the laceration required several stitches.

Apprentice Baze thrown from mount

Apprentice Michael Baze took a nasty fall at the top of the stretch of Friday's fifth race when his mount, Rocket Star, appeared to clip heels. Baze was thrown hard to the track, and it looked as if a trailing horse struck him. Baze was conscious when he was taken by ambulance to nearby Jamaica Hospital with a possible broken nose.

* Jockey Luis Chavez was suspended three racing days for careless riding during the second race Dec. 10. Chavez, who waived his right to appeal, will begin his suspension Sunday.