10/19/2007 11:00PM

Al Basha overcomes slow pace, wide trip in Mohawk

EmailELMONT, N.Y. - A soft pace and wide trip could not prevent Al Basha from a well-deserved victory in the $150,000 Mohawk Handicap for older turf horses on Saturday's New York Showcase Day at Belmont Park.

Al Basha ($15.60), under jockey Rafael Bejarano, was fanned wide into the lane after six furlongs in a dawdling 1:17.43, and had to run down Spurred, who had made the first run on the final turn to surge to the lead in the upper stretch. But Al Basha finished furiously in the middle of the course and got up to win by a half-length, with Gimme Credit another 1 3/4 lengths back in third.

Juror, the 5-2 favorite, raced in traffic on the turn, then faded and finished last in the field of nine.

Al Basha, a colt by Aljabr, completed 1 1/8 miles on soft turf in 1:53.73. He covered the final furlong in less than 12 seconds, and the final three furlongs in 35 and change. It was his fourth win in nine starts.

The first two finishers, both age 3, were among the least-experienced horses in the Mohawk. Al Basha, who had raced eight times, most recently had dropped a nose decision to Mohawk entrant Dave in the Ashley T. Cole Handicap at Belmont on Sept. 16. Spurred was another head back in third in the Cole while making only his seventh lifetime start.

Angel Penna Jr. trains Al Basha for Bembridge Farm.

Iroquois: Karakorum Starlet holds on

Karakorum Starlet, benefiting from a front-running trip over a main track that promoted that style, led from start to finish and held off a late bid from Mama Theresa as longshots finished one-two in the $125,000 Iroquois Handicap for female sprinters.

Karakorum Starlet ($31.80) led narrowly throughout the final furlong and beat 24-1 shot Mama Theresa by a neck, with 7-5 favorite Ice Cool Kitty another 6 1/2 lengths back in third.

Light Tactic, who won both of her previous starts, was sent off the 9-5 second choice but finished seventh in the field of 10.

Karakorum Starlet completed seven furlongs in 1:24.04 on a track rated good following Friday's rain. Garrett Gomez rode the winner for trainer Jeff Odintz.

Karakorum Starlet had finished fourth behind Iroquois entrants Ice Cool Kitty, Stolen Star, and Scatkey in last month's Floral Park Stakes. The win on Saturday was the sixth in 20 lifetime starts for Karakorum Starlet, a daughter of Skip Away. She has finished first or second in nine of 14 starts at Belmont.

Maid of Mist: Expect the End again

Expect the End rolled to her third straight victory and scored her second straight win against budding rival Meriwether Jessica in the $100,000 Maid of the Mist Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, the first race on the New York Showcase card.

Expect the End ($7.70) dueled for the early lead with Yet Again and Honky Tonk Trick, then was challenged by Meriwether Jessica on the turn. But once turning into the stretch, Expect the End scampered clear and rolled to a 5 3/4-length victory in 1:38.01 for one mile.

Meriwether Jessica, sent off as the 3-2 favorite, finished five lengths clear of third-place Sibley.

Bejarano rode Expect the End for trainer Rick Dutrow Jr., who trains Expect the End for a partnership that includes IEAH Stables, Sandy Goldfarb, and Michael Dubb.

Expect the End, by Precise End, has now won 4 of 5 starts.

Hudson: Ferocious Fires by DQ

Ferocious Fires remained undefeated when the stewards moved him from second to first after determining he was interfered with by first-place finisher Stormin Normandy in deep stretch of the $125,000 Hudson Handicap.

The victory was bittersweet for Tony Dutrow, trainer of Ferocious Fires, because the horse that was disqualified from first is trained by his brother, Rick. Still, Tony Dutrow could only marvel about his horse, who was making his first start since last November. He was sidelined with a tendon injury to a hind ankle.

"I'm happy for my horse because he's 6 for 6 and to come back off a year layoff like that, but I didn't want to see it that way," Tony Dutrow said.

Stormin Normandy set all the fractions, but began drifting out turning for home under Rafael Bejarano. He continued to drift out as Ferocious Fires ($12), who was next-to-last early, was gobbling up ground in the stretch. Stormin Normandy, who ran six furlongs in 1:09.41, finished a neck in front of Ferocious Fires, ridden by Ramon Dominguez, at the line.

"I felt pretty good that I was going to get up," Dominguez said. "I could see [Stormin Normandy] slow down as Rafael was reaching up to grab him to stop him from drifting."

Ferocious Fires is now 6 for 6 for owners Sandy Goldfarb, Ira Davis, and William Vidro.

Ticonderoga: Rewrite turns the tables

Trainer Christophe Clement had only one concern regarding Rewrite's chances in the $150,000 Ticonderoga Stakes: the soft turf.

In the end, Clement worried for nothing after Rewrite rallied from near the rear of the pack before outgaming Factual Contender by a neck to win the 1 1/8-mile Ticonderoga. The victory avenged Rewrite's half-length setback at the hands of Factual Contender three weeks earlier in the Dynamite Lisa Stakes.

Rewrite ($7.60), a homebred daughter of Editor's Note owned by the Amherst Stable, was unhurried for nearly six furlongs under jockey Garrett Gomez before angling four wide to commence her rally approaching the stretch. She overtook Latitude Forty inside the eighth pole, then dug in resolutely to outgame Factual Contender, who finished willingly from between horses. Latitude Forty held on well once relinquishing the lead at midstretch, checking home just another head back in third.

J'ray, the 5-2 favorite, rallied belatedly to finish a non-threatening fourth.

"I wasn't sure if she'd handle the soft turf, but obviously it wasn't a problem," said Clement. "She got a great ride today. She's a very consistent filly who has raced well all year."

Office Miss: Cute Cognac rallies

Cute Cognac ($9.90) continued her winning ways while successfully making the jump to stakes company when she rallied to a two-length triumph over the 26-1 Them There Eyes in the $78,000 Office Miss Stakes.

The victory was the third in a row for the lightly raced Cute Cognac, who is trained by Barclay Tagg for the Partingglass Stable. A 3-year-old Hennessy filly, Cute Cognac has not finished worse than second in five career starts. She was ridden to victory by her regular jockey, Eibar Coa.

Jesse's Justice, the tepid 3-1 favorite in a full field of 12 statebred 3-year-old fillies, finished ninth.

- additional reporting by David Grening and Mike Welsch