12/15/2007 1:00AM

Wow Me Free best by a head in Ladies

EmailOZONE PARK, N.Y. - Wow Me Free's two previous trips to New York did not work out too well. But that didn't stop owner Edward Seltzer from trying again, and on Saturday he was rewarded for his perseverance.

Under Alan Garcia, Wow Me Free rallied from last and nailed Cryptoquip in the final strides to win the $81,050 Ladies Handicap at Aqueduct by a head. It was 2 3/4 lengths back to Borrowing Base in third. Inda, the 5-2 favorite, finished fourth while Tap Gold, who made the lead after breaking slowly, finished fifth. Bondage was pulled up on the far turn and had to be euthanized after breaking her left front ankle.

Wow Me Free, based in Canada, was beaten 23 3/4 lengths in the Busanda here last January and finished fifth, beaten 5 3/4 lengths by Octave in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks at Belmont Park in July.

But following a decent fourth-place finish in the Maple Leaf Stakes at Woodbine last month, the decision was made to point to the Ladies. Danny Vella, who has trained Wow Me Free since the Oaks, shipped Wow Me Free to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin on Monday.

"Danny Vella deserves all the credit," said McLaughlin.

Garcia deserves some credit as well. After keeping Wow Me Free in the back of the pack for the majority of the trip, Garcia was able to avoid Bondage, who was being pulled up by jockey Ramon Dominguez entering the far turn. Wow Me Free launched her bid at the five-sixteenths pole and was able to wear down Cryptoquip, who raced through the stretch on her incorrect lead.

Wow Me Free ($9.10), a 3-year-old daughter of Menifee, covered the 1 1/4 miles in 2:04.63.

"I hear Ramon yelling when his horse got hurt," Garcia said. "It looked like he was going outside with her, so I stayed inside and made a move a little later than I wanted to start it. I knew I had a lot of horse in the stretch and when I got her outside I knew I had the best horse in the race."

Pick six carryover waits til Dec. 26

With the decision to cancel Sunday's card due to a forecasted nor'easter, Aqueduct does not race again until Dec. 26. There will be a pick six carryover of $161,694 entering that card after the wager went unhit for the second straight day.

Entries for the Dec. 26 card will be taken on Friday.

The Grade 3, $100,000 Gravesend Handicap, scheduled for Sunday, will now be run on Dec. 29, along with the Gallant Fox Handicap.