09/07/2001 11:00PM

With Anticipation goes gate to wire

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ELMONT, N.Y. - A switch to the grass has done wonders for With Anticipation, who won his second consecutive Grade 1 Saturday at Belmont Park in the $500,000 Man o' War, by 2 1/4 lengths over the favorite, Silvano.

Earlier this year, trainer Jonathan Sheppard decided to move With Anticipation to the turf after a few lackluster performances on the dirt. Now, Sheppard, a Hall of Fame trainer, has a major contender for the Breeders' Cup Turf.

With Anticipation, a 6-year-old gelding, won an allowance race on the turf at Keeneland in the spring. He followed with a win in the Louisville Handicap and then crossed the wire first in the Grade 1 United Nations, but was disqualified to second for interference. Last month at Saratoga, With Anticipation, who is owned by Augustin Stable, became a Grade 1 winner in the Sword Dancer.

In the 1 3/8-mile Man o' War, With Anticipation, with Pat Day in the saddle, set the pace, which was expected. With Anticipation, the second choice, clicked off comfortable fractions of 24.65 seconds, 50.18, 1:15.11, and 1:39.77, with Fusaichi Zenon not far behind in second.

In the stretch, Silvano, the 6-5 favorite, rallied on the outside, but couldn't gain on With Anticipation.

"He's all racehorse, that's for sure," Day said. "It was a great effort from him."

Ela Athena, the lone mare in the field, finished third, a neck behind Silvano. Completing the order of finish were Fusaichi Zenon, Zafonic's Song, Just Listen, Glyndebourne, and Mutafaweq.

Mutafaweq appeared to bobble on the first turn and then bumped with Silvano, who was running behind Mutafaweq. A stewards' inquiry was posted, but no action was taken.

Andreas Suborics, aboard Arlington Million winner Silvano, said the incident cost him the race.

Mutafaweq, said Suborics, "lost his legs and I was behind him. My horse ran very well, but after that, it was impossible to win."

With Anticipation ($6.80) covered the 1 3/8 miles in 2:15.11 over a firm course.

Sheppard said that With Anticipation will return to Sheppard's farm in West Grove, Pa., and will not race again before the Breeders' Cup Turf on Oct. 27 at Belmont.

Sheppard said he doesn't believe With Anticipation met Europe's toughest competitors in the Man o' War and expects the Breeders' Cup will be a tougher challenge.

"They weren't the best; there were no Daylamis," Sheppard said. "Nice horses, legitimate horses, but no superstars."