05/15/2005 12:00AM

Chinese Dragon captures Alcatraz Breeders' Cup Stakes


ALBANY, Calif. - Odds-on Chinese Dragon ($2.40), given a confident trip by jockey Corey Nakatani, unleashed a strong stretch kick to score an easy victory in the $86,875 Alcatraz Breeders' Cup Stakes at Golden Gate Fields on Sunday.

Leo Getz, the lone speed in the one-mile race for 3-year-olds with the scratch of Texcess, was nursed through slow fractions of 24.83, 49.48 and 1:14.08. He tried to open with a quick burst at the quarter pole, but Chinese Dragon, who sat within two lengths of him most of the way, easily caught and passed him in the lane to win by 1 3/4 lengths in 1:37.00, running the final quarter in 22.50 seconds.

Chinese Dragon is 4-for-4 this year since arriving from Ireland after being purchased at the Tattersalls Autumn Horses in Training Sale. His last three victories have come in stakes.

"I didn't want to let the only speed horse get away too easy," Nakatani said. "I pushed Leo a little bit early and then tucked in behind him. I just tried to have him comfortable. When he wanted to go, he went."

Winning trainer Bob Hess Jr. said Chinese Dragon was the only horse he bid on at the sale and said the purchase "was a bit of a gamble" because the colt had seemingly soured on racing.

"When he first came (to the United States), he was dumping riders left and right," said Hess, who equipped the colt with full cup blinkers that have since been cut back.

"Fortunately, he acclimated to U.S. racing."

The victory, worth $55,000, increased Chinese Dragon's earnings to $217,190 with five victories in six starts.

Hess said Chinese Dragon's next start could be in the $500,000 Colonial Turf Cup at Colonial Downs on June 25.