03/27/2004 12:00AM

Randaroo keeps rising

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Randaroo, Richard Migliore aboard, dominates in the Distaff Breeders' Cup Handicap. It was her eighth victory in 14 starts.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Randaroo took another step towards becoming a Grade 1 winner, whereas Storm Flag Flying took a step backward in her attempt to regain her championship form, in Saturday's Grade 2, at Aqueduct.

Randaroo, under a measured ride by Richard Migliore, led gate to wire to win the $150,000 Distaff by 3 1/2 lengths. Longshot Chirimoya finished second, 2 1/4 lengths ahead of the disappointing Storm Flag Flying. Fit Performer finished last.

It was the eighth victory from 14 starts for Randaroo, a 4-year-old owned by Joe Allen. Randaroo has won five stakes from six starts since being transferred to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. Randaroo has yet to win a Grade 1, but will get that chance in the Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs on May 1.

Randaroo recovered from an early bobble and maintained a measured half-length lead through fractions of 22.81 seconds and 46.35. Migliore let Randaroo out a notch when she switched leads in upper stretch, and Randaroo bounded home an easy winner. Randaroo ($2.90) covered seven furlongs in 1:22.64.

"I felt the only way she could lose was if something went seriously wrong," said Migliore, who was riding Randaroo for the first time.

McLaughlin instructed Migliore not to use too much of Randaroo early if he didn't have to. "We have a long year, and we want to race her," McLaughlin said. "It's a four-horse field. If she's doing it easy, let her do it easy, and she was doing it easy."

Storm Flag Flying the champion juvenile filly of 2002, raced up close early, dropped back around the turn, and ran erratically in the stretch. Trainer Shug McGaughey wasn't surprised Storm Flag Flying didn't win, but he was disappointed with how she ran.

McGaughey said jockey Edgar Prado told him that "by the five-sixteenths pole, when he tried to pick her up, he said she acted like she

didn't want it. We'll see how she comes back and take it from there. I don't want any more of these."

- Apprentice jockey Pedro Cotto Jr. was taken to Jamaica Hospital complaining of back pain after his mount, Warm Feelings, unseated him while breaking down past the finish line in Saturday's ninth race. Warm Feelings had to be euthanized.