09/08/2007 12:00AM

Alexander Tango overcomes pace


ELMONT, N.Y. - The connections of Alexander Tango shipped their 3-year-old filly from Ireland to America in hopes of finding firm ground and a fast pace.

While they got the ground they desired at Belmont Park they did not get the pace. In the end, that didn't matter, as Alexander Tango, who had one horse beaten at the quarter pole, swooped past the other eight 3-year-old fillies in the final three-sixteenths of a mile to win Saturday's Grade 1, $250,000 Garden City Breeders' Cup by three-quarters of a length. Bit of Whimsy won a three-way photo for second, nosing out Sharp Susan, who nosed Costume.

Rutherienne, the 8-5 favorite, finished last as her five-race winning streak came to an end.

Alexander Tango, an Irish-bred daughter of Danehill Dancer, won for the fourth time in 11 starts for owner Noel O'Callaghan and trainer Tommy Stack. She had won a Group 3 race at Leopardstown in May, and was coming off a second-place finish behind Eagle Mountain when she faced males in the Royal Whip Stakes at The Curragh last month.

It was the first North American victory for O'Callaghan, who owns the Alexander Hotel in Dublin, and uses the name Alexander for several of his horses.

"We could get used to this," O'Callaghan said.

Neither O'Callaghan nor James Stack, son of and assistant to trainer Tommy Stack, liked Alexander Tango's chances midway down the backside. Alexander Tango, under Shaun Bridgmohan, was ninth while New Edition and Sharp Susan dueled heads apart through slow fractions of 25.80 seconds 50.32 and 1:14.52.

Around the far turn, Bridgmohan sent Alexander Tango five wide and she exploded with an electric kick that carried her to the front inside the sixteenth pole. Alexander Tango covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.97 over firm turf and returned $13.60 to win.

"I thought we were done halfway down the backside because I thought we were too far back," James Stack said. Our intention was to be mid-pack but she got squeezed going into the first turn."

Said Bridgmohan: "She's used to those kinds of races in Europe, where they go slow and pick it up late. I was very confident at the eighth pole. Once she got daylight she just picked it up and ran home."

Alexander Tango will remain at Belmont and point to the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational on Sept. 29.

Garrett Gomez the rider of Rutherienne, said his filly was too keen in the early stages and was compromised by the slow pace.

"Usually she'll lay off the bridle," Gomez said. "They went 50 and she was a little keen for my liking. She just threw a clunker at us today."