04/07/2006 11:00PM

Buzzards Bay wins Oaklawn Handicap

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Shawn Coady/Coady Photography
Buzzards Bay becomes a millionaire with his victory in the Oaklawn Handicap at Oaklawn Park on Saturday.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Buzzards Bay dominated his rivals in the Grade 2, $500,000 on Saturday, winning off by six and a half lengths in a stirring performance that left his connections thinking Breeders' Cup Classic.

It was the second straight blowout stakes win for Buzzards Bay, who became a millionaire with the victory. He was purchased in July by Gary Broad and was making his fifth start for his new trainer, Ron Ellis.

"I wanted this horse to hit sometime this time of year in full form and tell me that he was good enough for the Breeders' Cup, and the way he's run the last three races, I think he probably is," said Ellis. "So, we're going to kind of have to map out a plan for him, maybe just space his races pretty good, but have our eye on that Breeders' Cup."

Buzzards Bay ($6.60) broke on top in the Oaklawn, and took the lead soon after the start, leading the field through fractions of 22.82 seconds for opening quarter, 46.61 for the half-mile, and 1:10.83 for six furlongs. He proceeded to cover the mile and an eighth over a fast track in 1:48.22.

"It probably looked as easy as it was," said Jose Valdivia Jr., who rode Buzzards Bay.

Magnum rallied up the rail for second, and finished a length in front of third-place finisher Gouldings Green. The remaining order of finish was Master Command, With Distinction, It's No Joke, Purim and Andromeda's Hero.

Buzzards Bay earned $300,000 for the win, which pushed his earnings to $1,116,971. Overall, he has won 5 of 15 starts. Buzzards Bay won the Grade 3, $150,000 All American Handicap by four lengths at Golden Gate Fields one start prior to the Oaklawn. Before that race, he was fourth to Lava Man in the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic. Last year, Buzzards Bay won the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby.

Ellis has started one other horse at Oaklawn, winning the 1996 running of the Apple Blossom with Twice the Vice.

The Oaklawn shared a card with the Grade 1, $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap won by Spun Sugar ($8.60). Attendance ontrack was 29,841. Handle on the 12-race card was $6,856,818, with $2,056,083 of that amount bet ontrack at Oaklawn.