01/17/2005 1:00AM

Quick Maddy's Lion wins smartly


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Before post positions were drawn for Monday's Jimmy Winkfield Stakes at Aqueduct, trainer John Pregman was hoping there would be enough speed to set things up for his 3-year-old Maddy's Lion.

After Maddy's Lion drew the rail, Pregman decided to change tactics and become the speed. The decision paid dividends as Pablo Fragoso hustled Maddy's Lion to the front leaving the gate and the two rolled to a 6 1/4-length victory over favored More Smoke in the $80,400 .

Lieutenant Danz finished third, followed by Primal Storm, Smokin Forest, and Gold Joy.

Maddy's Lion was wheeling back on just 12 days' rest, and despite drifting out under left-handed whipping in the stretch, he was much the best.

"I told him to use the horse coming out of the gate the first quarter of a mile because I didn't want to get pinched back," Pregman said. "I figured we could hold our position and if they really wanted the lead they'd have to use their horses, and it worked out just fine."

More Smoke, the 3-2 favorite, came in on Primal Storm leaving the gate, which helped Maddy's Lion make the lead. More Smoke, under Rafael Bejarano, recovered quickly enough to press the pace and even put a nose in front at the five-sixteenths pole, but could not sustain his run.

Maddy's Lion, a Maryland-bred son of Lion Hearted, covered the six furlongs in 1:11.43 and returned $8.20.

Pregman said he would look to stretch out Maddy's Lion in either the Miracle Wood Stakes at Laurel on Feb. 5 or the Whirlaway here Feb. 12.

Monday's race had previously been called the Best Turn, but was renamed in honor of jockey Jimmy Winkfield, the last African-American rider to win the Kentucky Derby. Winkfield's daughter, Lillian Winkfield Casey, presented the trophy and even bet on the winner.

"This is really something special," she said.