02/15/2003 12:00AM

Servis ships in another stakes winner


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Five weeks ago, trainer John Servis came to Aqueduct and won the Grade 3 Affectionately for the second year in a row with Zonk. Servis, who is based at Philadelphia Park, shipped another runner to New York on Saturday to win the $81,825 Dearly Precious Stakes with Ladyecho.

Ladyecho closed strongly in the final sixteenth of the six-furlong Dearly Precious to wear down the loose-on-the-lead pacesetter, Lizzy Cool, and win by a length. Lizzy Cool finished 4 1/4 lengths in front of Reign of Tara in third.

Ridden by Oliver Castillo, Ladyecho saved ground in third down the backstretch, about five lengths behind Lizzy Cool, who set fractions of 23.07, 46.66, and 59.39 seconds.

Harford Ghost, the 4-5 favorite, stalked the pacesetter from second position, but came up empty in the stretch and faded to sixth.

Ladyecho ($11.40) covered the distance in 1:12.68 over a fast track.

Castillo said he had a few anxious moments after the start when Ladyecho "took an awkward step. I didn't really want to push her after that."