08/26/2005 12:00AM

Adieu makes amends for flop on opening day


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - The handicappers gave up on Adieu way too soon.

After finishing fourth as the 6-5 favorite in the Adirondack here on opening day, Adieu rebounded with a strong performance Friday, winning the Grade 2, $250,000 by one length over Adirondack winner Folklore. It was three lengths back to Along the Sea, who was third. Sent off at 7-1 in the field of seven, Adieu returned $17.40 to win.

Sensation finished fourth, followed by Effectual, the 7-5 favorite, Wonder Lady Anne L, and Fifth Avenue.

Under John Velazquez, Adieu broke sharply and stalked Effectual, who set fractions of 22.25 and 45.41 seconds. Adieu came alongside Effectual turning for home, made the lead inside the three-sixteenths pole, and held Folklore at bay through the lane.

Adieu, a daughter of El Corredor owned by Michael Tabor, Mr. and Mrs. John Magnier, and Derrick Smith, covered the seven furlongs in 1:23.68 over a fast track.

Velazquez said Adieu struggled in the Adirondack because the track was so dry.

"Today the track was much better," Velazquez said. "It's fast, has plenty of water. She feels much better; she got a better hold of the track. She broke much better and then she stalked, and it was her game then.''

As happy as he was with the victory, Adieu's trainer, Todd Pletcher, expressed dismay with the North American Graded Stakes Committee for downgrading the Spinaway from a Grade 1 to a Grade 2 prior to last year's running. The Spinaway has been run 114 times and has produced several champions.

"To me it's an absolute joke that the Spinaway is not a Grade 1,'' said Pletcher, who won the Spinaway when it was a Grade 1 in 1999 with Circle of Life and in 2003 with Ashado. "In my opinion the graded stakes committee should be ashamed of themselves. The oldest stakes race run for 2-year-old fillies in the country at a place like Saratoga not to be a Grade 1 I think is an absolute joke.''

Adieu will have two Grade 1 opportunities in the fall at Belmont - the Matron on Sept. 17 and the Frizette on Oct. 8.