05/15/2006 12:00AM

Belmont: Strong finish for Dave in Kingston


Dave fired the first salvo in the race for supremacy among New York-bred turf males with a strong stretch move that carried him from eighth to first in Sunday's $114,100 Kingston Stakes at Belmont Park.

Dave, who finished a strong second in an open-company allowance race on April 28, rallied strongly while four wide under Javier Castellano to outfinish defending Kingston winner Golden Commander by one length. It was 1 1/2 lengths back to Pa Pa Da in third.

Castellano kept Dave in eighth position as Unnerving and Retribution battled through fractions of 23.72 seconds and 47.50. It was a cavalry charge entering the stretch, and after Castellano was able to guide Dave into the clear, he kicked home smartly to earn the victory. Dave, a son of Ends Well, covered the 1 1/8 miles over a good inner turf course in 1:49.13 and returned $12 to win.

"I was worried about running back a little quick after he ran so big off the layoff," winning trainer Barclay Tagg said. "He was feeling good and [Castellano] rode him perfectly."

Golden Commander, a 6-year-old gelded son of Deputy Commander, was making his first start since suffering a soft-tissue injury last July. His trainer, Phil Serpe, said he was looking for a productive race from Golden Commander, and he got it.

"He ran big, considering he was coming off a soft-tissue injury," Serpe said. "We're very proud of him, and he should move forward off this race."

There are three more scheduled turf stakes for New York-breds, the next being the West Point Handicap at Saratoga on Aug. 13. The Ashley T. Cole (Sept. 17) and Mohawk (Oct. 21), both at Belmont, are also restricted to New York-breds.