10/06/2006 11:00PM

Aussie Rules closes powerfully


LEXINGTON, Ky. - The long reach of the Aidan O'Brien empire found its way to Keeneland Race Course on Saturday when one of the powerhouse stable's relatively unheralded runners, Aussie Rules, made a sensational run in the final quarter-mile to overpower eight rivals in the Grade 1, $600,000 .

Given a textbook ride by the North American earnings leader, Garrett Gomez, Aussie Rules stormed to a 1 3/4-length victory after saving ground to the top of the stretch and angling out. Remarkable News, who forced the pace throughout, gamely held second in a three-horse photo, a nose before 50-1 shot Old Dodge, who finished a head in front of a dead heat between Miesque's Approval and Cosmonaut.

Aussie Rules, the lone 3-year-old in a field of nine, not only was making his North American debut, but also was being treated with Lasix and equipped with blinkers for the first time in the Shadwell. Owned by the partnership of Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Faisal Salman, the gray colt returned $11.80 as third choice after finishing in 1:34.23 over a firm course.

"He was sent over ready to run," said Gomez. "He was always traveling real well. I just had to find a place to go, and when I asked him he really took off."

Aussie Rules, by Danehill, won the Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Poulains at Longchamp in France in May, then was no better than fourth in four subsequent starts, all in Group 1 company overseas.

O'Brien, the 35-year-old Irish training legend, was not present. His assistants said a decision on the Nov. 4 Breeders' Cup Mile would be made at a later date.

Silent Name, the lukewarm 5-2 favorite, had no mishap when finishing seventh.

Kelly's Landing upsets Phoenix

Earlier Saturday, Kelly's Landing got through along the rail and raced away to a 12-1 upset in the $268,600 .

Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Kelly's Landing ($26.20) won by a length over California invader Areyoutalkintome, while Level Playingfield was another length back in third. Coach Jimi Lee, the 5-2 second choice, beat out Silver Wagon, the 5-2 favorite, by a neck for fourth in a field of nine older horses.

Kelly's Landing, owned by the Summerplace Farm of John Lally, now will be pointed to the BC Sprint, said trainer Eddie Kenneally. Kelly's Landing is the track record holder for six furlongs at Churchill Downs, site of the 23rd Breeders' Cup.

Kelly's Landing broke sharply but was eased back to near the rear before finding an inside opening for the stretch run.

"When I came to the three-eighths, I had a lot of horse," said Bejarano.