10/20/2007 6:04PM

Showcase of Upsets


--New York Showcase Day at Belmont Saturday was a bloodbath for chalkplayers. In the eight stakes races for statebreds, seven favorites lost and an eighth was (justifiably) disqualified. Nobody picked six, and the two pick-fours paid $6,807 and $11,460.

*The $100k Maid Of The Mist for 2-year-old fillies ended with the same 1-2 finish as the Gimma Sept. 23, but this time Expect The End (Precise End) beat Meriwether Jessica by 5 3/4 lengths rather than a nose. IEAH/Dutrow claimed the winner out of her winning debut at Churchill Downs for $25k last May and she has now won three straight statebred stakes.

*The $100k Sleepy Hollow for 2-year-old males saw the defeat of 3-10 favorite Big Truck. This is the colt that trainer Barclay Tagg said might be the best of his 2-year-olds a few weeks ago, strong words considering he also handles G2 Futurity winner and BC Juvenile entrant Tale of Ekati. After that pronouncement, Big Truck seemed to work awfully hard to win his second start at 3-5, and here he hung badly after a perfect trip. Second-time starter Giant Moon (Giant's Causeway) successfully stretched out from 5 to 8 furlongs, fighting off Big Truck through the stretch and then holding off a late bid from 30-1 Coastal Drive -- making his first start for Dutrow since being claimed out of a $25k Monmouth maiden-claimer in August.

*In the $125k Iroquois for filly sprinters, 14-1 Karakorum Starlet(Skip Away) and 24-1 Mama Theresa finished a neck apart in that order and 6 1/2 in front of favored Ice Cool Kitty.

*Tagg made it to the winners' circle with Cute Cognac (Hennessy) in the $75k Office Miss for 3-year-old turf fillies, a two-length winner over 26-1 Them There Eyes, with a pair of 35-1 shots filling out a $47k superfecta.

*Rewrite (Editor's Note), owned by the late P.G. Johnson's daughters Karen and Kathy, won the $150k Ticonderoga for older grass fillies in a three-way photo over Factual Contender and Latitude Forty, with J'Ray a late-running fourth as the favorite.

*Ferocious Fires, 5-for-5 but unraced since last November, was placed first after being bothered in the stretch by bearing-out favorite Stormin Normandy in the $125k Hudson Handicap for older sprinters. Stormin Normandy, who led from the start as the 2-1 favorite for Rick Dutrow, held on by a neck but was placed second (after an inquiry and foul claim) to Ferocious Fires (Lite the Fuse), trained by Tony Dutrow.

*Al Basha (Aljabr) ran down fellow 3-year-old and maybe-best Spurred in the final yards to beat their elders in the $150k Mohawk on the grass. Spurred made an early move to wear down favorite Red Zipper in a long stretch drive but had nothing left to fend off Al Basha's late surge.

*Dr. V's Magic, a 3-year-old son of Raffie's Majesty-Treasure always trained by Dominic Galluscio, held off Who What Win by half a length to win the $250k Empire Classic at 15-1. If the pedigree and connections sound vaguely familiar, it's because last year Galluscio sent out Dr. V.'s Magic's his now-5-year-old full brother, Organizer, to win the same race at 22-1. Favored Naughty New Yorker got going too late and stuck on the inside and settled for a distant fourth.

The last race of the day was a statebred allowance race and there was just one pick-six ticket alive, to 12-1 Striking Rizzi, who finished 11th. So there will be a $63k carryover into Sunday's closing-day card at Belmont, where there will be a mandatory payout even if no one picks six. The pick-six sequence is a snapshot of what much of the fall meeting felt like on a regular basis: It includes five grass races, four of them at a mile or less, two of them restricted to statebreds.

The featured King Cugat Stakes at a mile on the turf for 2-year-olds is unrestricted, but 8 of the 13 entrants are New York-breds. There are some slight Breeders' Cup connections in the race as several in the field are coming off defeats against Prussian or The Leopard, who are pre-entered in Friday's BC Juvenile Turf. The King Cugat field also includes two Juvenile Turf also-eligibles unlikely to get into that race: Why Tonto and Cannonball, 7th and 9th respectively on the BCJT A-E list.

--The two richest races in North America Sunday are at Woodbine:

2:59 EST, Woodbine race 5, G1 $1 million E. P. Taylor, 3+ fillies, 1 1/4m-T
Mrs. Lindsay, a 3-year-old Theatrical filly who has made all six of her career starts in France, is the 2-1 ML favorite off a last-out victory in the G1 Prix Vermeille at Longchamps. (Passage of Time, third in that race, has been pre-enetered in the BC F&M Turf.) German-bred Four Sins, a G2 winner at The Curragh last time out, is the second ML choice at 4-1. Safari Queen heads the American contingent and Hostess is worth a look at 12-1 ML odds.

4:05 EST, Woodbine race 7, G1 $2 million Canadian International, 3+, 1 1/2m-T
Nine of the dozen entrants were bred outside the United States and the field includes horses who made their last starts at Ascot, Baden-Baden, Deauville and Newbury. Good luck. Sunriver will take them as far as he can on the lead, and the 3-1 ML favorite to run him down is Germany's Quijano, a winner of 12 of 15 career starts. Irish Wells, who split Dylan Thomas and Dr. Dino when second in the G1 Prix Ganay last April, is a little interesting at 8-1.