09/02/2006 12:00AM

British Blue takes Tri-State


While heavily favored Silver Tree finished out of the money, British Blue barely held off fellow longshot Gallo Del Bar in an eventful 30th running of the $50,000 Tri-State Handicap on Saturday at Ellis Park in Henderson, Ky.

British Blue, a 12-1 shot ridden by Cesar Mejia, finished a nose ahead of Gallo Del Bar, a Chilean-bred who was nearly 20-1 under Orlando Mojica. It was another three-quarters of a length back to Mesawmi in a field of six older horses, and with Silver Tree checking in fourth as the 3-10 favorite, show mutuels soared. British Blue paid $26 to win, while the respective show prices were $19, $36.80, and $8.60.

British Blue, based at the Thoroughbred Training Center in Lexington with Juan Ruvalcaba, has won 4 of 20 starts, with the Tri-State being his first stakes win. Never Tell Farm is the owner of the 6-year-old horse by Storm Cat.

Silver Tree, with Larry Melancon aboard for trainer Bill Mott, did have an excuse when being soundly bumped at the start. Still, the $1.15-million earner had his chance to threaten when edging close to the leaders in the turn for home, but he failed to sustain his rally.