07/27/2001 11:00PM

Calder: Tv Sports Director wins


MIAMI, Fla. - Tv Sports Director, a former claimer whose fortunes have soared since trainer Reed Combest switched him to the grass, completed a meteoric rise to the top of the local 3-year-old turf division with an easy five-length victory over Sword Chief in the $50,000 Roman Brother Stakes. The victory also avenged Tv Sports Director's last defeat, to Built Up, who finished a disappointing fourth as the even-money favorite Saturday.

Combest claimed Tv Sports Director for owner Ann M Lagrosa for $25,000 out of a maiden race at Gulfstream Park on March 2. A son of Line in the Sand, Tv Sports Director was winless until his second start on grass, but has now won five of his last seven starts, all on turf. He is also perfect in three races since being equipped with blinkers.

Despite breaking from the extreme outside post in a field of nine 3-year-olds, Tv Sports Director easily cleared the field for the lead approaching the first turn, then set a leisurely pace of 24.56 seconds, 49.64 and 1:13.56, while under a rating hold by jockey Jose Rivera II. The lead quickly grew to five lengths once Rivera set down Tv Sports Director in early stretch, after which the pair was never threatened.

Sword Chief rallied from between horses to be second, four lengths before the 45-1 Connot, who stumbled at the start. Built Up came up empty through the stretch and finished a tiring fourth.

Tv Sports Director paid $7.60 after covering 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.58 over a firm course.

"I knew he was a good horse all along but just took time to develop," said Combest. "I put blinkers on two races back at the recommendation of both the jockey and exercise rider because he got to looking around."

* Dancing Guy posted his first victory in nearly a year when slipping through along the rail to register a popular five-length decision over Western Honors in the $35,530 Amos Handicap. Cornelio Velasquez was aboard Dancing Guy for owner-trainer Newcomb Green. The winner paid $7.20 as the tepid choice in a field of nine.