08/23/2002 11:00PM

Capsized earns elusive graded win


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Capsized, who had been 0 for 8 in graded stakes company, finally cleared that hurdle Saturday when the 6-year-old splashed his way to a 3 1/4-length victory in the $200,000 at sloppy Saratoga.

Scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on turf, the Fourstardave was moved to 1 1/8 miles on dirt due to heavy rains that pelted Saratoga all day long. Originally a Grade 2, the Fourstardave was automatically downgraded to a Grade 3 because of the surface switch. It could be reinstated pending review by the Graded Stakes Committee.

The surface switch prompted half of the 10-horse field to scratch, including morning-line favorite Del Mar Show.

Capsized, owned by Stonerside Stable, was ridden aggressively from the gate by Jose Santos, but ended up sitting second just off Pyrus through fractions of 23.49 seconds 47.21, and 1:11.97. Capsized made the lead midway around the turn and with a few cracks of Santos's right-handed whip, drew clear in the stretch. Capsized ($8.80), a son of Summer Squall, covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.90.

"I know [Pyrus] has a lot of speed, I wanted to make sure he's going to the lead, but I didn't want him going easy either so I forced my horse a little bit,'' said Santos, who is 3 for 3 on Capsized. "He didn't like the mud in his face so I kept him outside. To me he was the winner at the half-mile pole.''

Pure Prize finished second, 4 1/2 lengths ahead of Pyrus. Kappa King and Jubileo completed the order of finish.

Trainer Lisa Lewis said a graded stakes for Capsized was big for his future as a stallion.

"He's what you want in a racehorse because it doesn't matter if it's turf, it doesn't matter if it's mud, he's going to run his race and that's what makes him a good racehorse,'' she said.

Ballston Spa: It's all Surya

In a race void of excitement, Surya ($3.70) easily defeated two rivals in the $191,800 Ballston Spa Breeders' Cup on the Travers undercard.

Shooting Party finished second, 9 1/4 lengths behind the winner. Solvig labored home in third, nearly 51 lengths behind the runner-up.

The field for the Ballston Spa Breeders' Cup, the first leg of the $1 million guaranteed pick 4, was reduced to three runners after seven horses were scratched when the filly and mare stakes was taken off the turf.

Originally scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on the Mellon turf course, the Ballston Spa was run on the sloppy main track at 1 1/8 miles.

Ridden by Jerry Bailey, Surya raced in second down the backstretch behind the pacesetter, Shooting Party, who scampered to a clear lead after the break. Shooting Party set honest fractions and after running six furlongs in 1:11.61 was joined by Surya, who took over the lead in upper stretch.

Bailey, who has won the Ballston Spa four times, said he had to regain Surya's attention because she began looking at the grandstand as soon as she hit the lead.

Trained by Bobby Frankel, Surya had never raced on the dirt before Saturday. Earlier this year, the 4-year-old Surya won the Grade 3 Royal Heroine at Hollywood Park.

Frankel said, "The race wasn't that easy. I really wasn't sure if she would handle the mud."

Surya covered the distance in 1:52.29.

The Ballston Spa will likely lose its Grade 3 status for this year's running because it was run on the dirt.

- additional reporting by Karen M. Johnson