10/29/2005 11:00PM

Bailey ends big meet with Knickerbocker win


ELMONT, N.Y. - If this weekend was Jerry Bailey's last appearance at Belmont Park, he certainly went out in style.

Bailey guided Altando to a last-to-first neck victory in the Grade 3, $150,000 Knickerbocker Handicap as the Belmont Park meet came to a close before 5,509 fans. The victory in the Knickerbocker came almost 24 hours after Bailey guided Saint Liam to victory in the $4.68 million Breeders' Cup Classic.

Bailey, 48, has hinted that he could retire at year's end, though he reiterated Sunday afternoon that he would not make a decision until mid-December.

Turning for home in the Knickerbocker, Bailey thought he had no chance to hit the board aboard Atlando, who lingered in the back of the pack behind a relatively slow pace. Bailey took Atlando widest of all in the stretch and he ran by pace-setting Certifiably Crazy in the final yards to get the win. It was 2 1/2 lengths back to Rousing Victory in third.

Atlando, trained by Pascal Bary for owner Gary Tanaka, covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.93 over good turf and returned $12.60.

"The pace was just far too fast for me even though it was slow on the board," Bailey said. "My horse couldn't keep up and it was no use making him. The inside was so dug up on the inside so I just took him to the outside. I didn't think I had a chance to hit the board turning for home. He sure had a furious last eighth."

Bailey finished the Belmont meet with 34 wins from 103 starters. In addition to his Breeders' Cup Classic and Knickerbocker wins, Bailey won the Woodard, Ruffian, Champagne, Futurity, and Belmont Breeders' Cup.

Great Intentions wins First Flight

Great Intentions ran past pacesetter Smokey Glacken approaching the sixteenth pole and drew clear for a three-length victory in the Grade 2, $150,000 First Flight Handicap.

Habiboo rallied from seventh to get up for second, a neck ahead of Smokey Glacken, the 2-1 favorite. Areek, Lilah, Fifth Overture, Travelator and Umpateedle completed the order of finish.

It was the third straight victory for Great Intentions, a 3-year-old daughter of Cat Thief, owned by Barry Schwartz and trained by Mike Hushion. Under Edgar Prado, Great Intentions stalked Smokey Glacken from third down the backstretch, moved into second turning in upper stretch and got up in the stretch. Great Intentions covered the seven furlongs in 1:23.98 and returned $8.70 to win.

Better Now rallies for Tempted score

Despite being checked while last early on the far turn, Better Now launched a huge move from the three-furlong pole home, and swept by pace-setter Capote's Crown in deep stretch to win the Grade 3, $110,000 Tempted Stakes by 3 1/2 lengths.

Capote's Crown held second, by 2 1/2 lengths over Wonder Lady Anne L, the 9-5 favorite.

Better Now, a daughter of Thunder Gulch owned by Lee Lewis and trained by Mark Hennig, covered the mile in 1:38.35 and returned $13.40 to win.