07/30/2004 11:00PM

Wonder Again rolls

Wonder Again, Edgar Prado up, pulls away from the Diana field. Intercontinental, 4-5, was fifth.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Intermittent showers, which started to fall about an hour before the $500,000 Diana, added more moisture to Saratoga's already rain-softened turf courses. The Mellon course condition was listed as yielding, and the scene was set for a winning race from Wonder Again.

Taking advantage of conditions she adores, Wonder Again won Saturday's Grade 1 by 5 3/4 lengths over Riskaverse. Ocean Drive finished third, 2 1/4 lengths behind the runner-up. It was another 2 1/4 lengths back to Sands Spring in fourth. Intercontinental, the 4-5 favorite, finished fifth and was followed under the wire by Spice Island and Halory Leigh.

With Edgar Prado in the saddle, Wonder Again saved ground down the backstretch while racing in third position behind pacesetter Sands Springs, who set fractions of 23.75 seconds, 47.66, and 1:11.71, and Ocean Drive. Wonder Again charged through an opening on the rail early in the stretch of the 1 1/8-mile Diana and drew away from the field under a vigorous hand ride.

"Absolutely perfect," said Wonder Again's trainer, Jim Toner. "We wanted to be in a tracking position."

Prado, said Toner, "can't do anything wrong. He's at the top of his game right now."

Prado, who won his first stakes at the meet in the Diana, said his job was made easy by Wonder Again, who is owned and bred by John and Joan Phillips.

"She was training super for this, and she got her course," said Prado, who got off to a slow start at the meet, losing with his first 19 mounts. Prado also won the day's other stakes, the Grade 1 Test, aboard Society Selection.

Wonder Again, who was the co-highweight at 120 pounds with Intercontinental, returned $8.20.

Efforts to rate Intercontinental by jockey Jerry Bailey were met with resistance from the filly. Bailey said that going into the turn, "She grabbed the bridle and that was it."

Toner and the Phillipses won the 1998 Diana with Memories of Silver.

In her race before the Diana, Wonder Again won the Grade 2 New York Handicap over a soft course at Belmont Park on July 5. Toner said he would probably wait until the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational at Belmont on Oct. 2 for Wonder Again's next race.

Toner said he has not given the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf, on Oct. 30 at Lone Star Park, much thought because Wonder Again, a 5-year-old daughter of Silver Hawk, doesn't travel well.