09/13/2002 11:00PM

Boston Common gets the distance

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ELMONT, N.Y. - Boston Common had been running some great races, although losing ones, in sprints. On Saturday at Belmont Park, Boston Common was asked to stretch his speed in the one-mile , and he responded with a five-length win.

Longshot Vinemeister finished second in the Grade 2, $150,000 race, 5 1/2 lengths in front of No Parole in third. Puzzlement, the 6-5 favorite, finished fifth in the seven-horse field of 3-year-olds, beaten 11 1/4 lengths with no apparent excuse.

"That was a surprise," said Puzzlement's rider, Jean-Luc Samyn. "It's not him. He sure can do a whole lot better."

The race unfolded in Boston Common's favor when he was allowed to set a relaxed pace without being hounded. Boston Common, under Jorge Chavez, showed the way through fractions of 23.38 seconds, 46.24, and 1:10.93.

This summer, Boston Common finished second in both the Grade 2 Amsterdam and Grade 1 King's Bishop after setting much faster fractions.

"After the way he has been hanging in there after getting brutalized, we were hoping for a clear pace," said Boston Common's trainer, Michael Pino, who won his first New York stakes. "This was definitely an easier group today, but it was a question of the distance."

Chavez said Boston Common was getting tired as the finish line approached.

"The last 50 yards, I felt it," Chavez said. "He broke sharp and has natural speed. I just tried to relax him the best I could."

Boston Common ($6.70) covered the distance in 1:36.12 over a track labeled fast.

Pino said there is a "slight possibility" that Boston Common, who is based at Delaware Park, could run in the Breeders' Cup Sprint.

Boston Common provided owner Richard Englander with his first graded stakes win in New York. Pino said it was Englander who talked the trainer into running in the Jerome.

"I was leaning toward running him in the Kentucky Cup Sprint," Pino said.