11/12/2001 1:00AM

This time luck is with Queue in Long Island


JAMAICA, N.Y. - Queue entered Saturday's Long Island Handicap with only one win in her last 12 starts. But she had been a bit unlucky, suffering four of the 11 losses by less than a length.

Saturday, there was no need for excuses as Queue rallied five wide turning for home and powered her way to a 2 1/2-length victory in the $150,000, Grade 2 Long Island Handicap before 7,315 at Aqueduct.

Sweetest Thing, who enjoyed a perfect stalking trip, settled for second, a head in front of Lady Dora.

Moon Queen, the 9-5 favorite, finished fifth, beaten five lengths, after dueling with Bail Bond for more than a mile.

Under Jose Espinoza, Queue had only two horses beaten for the first six furlongs of the Long Island. Straightening away down the backside the second time, Espinoza guided Queue to the outside and she gradually moved into contention. She swung five wide turning for home, but needed only a few taps of Espinoza's whip to accelerate to the front approaching the eighth pole. She covered the 1 1/2 miles over firm turf in 2:29.36 and returned $13.40 to win as the second choice.

"We had some bad luck when she got beat. She was down on the inside," trainer Vinnie Blengs said, referring to a pair of second-place finishes at The Meadowlands. "I said 'Jose, I know it's a tough order, it's a big field, but try and get to the outside.' She does accelerate when she sees air and that's what he did. She ran a nice race. She's a nice filly."

"She relaxed all the way and had a lot of run in the stretch," said Espinoza, who won two races on Saturday's card after entering the day 0 for 25 at the meet.

It was the seventh win in 26 starts for Queue and her first graded stakes victory. She has now earned $413,260 for owners Gerald Robins and Jay Weiss, who have committed to running Queue as a 5-year-old. Blengs said Queue would make her next start in the $150,000 La Prevoyante Handicap at Calder on Dec. 29.

John Velazquez said Moon Queen did not have a chance to relax and was a bit rank in her U.S. debut. She will remain in this country with trainer Christophe Clement.