03/25/2006 12:00AM

Cosmonaut rockets to victory

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Vassar Photography
Cosmonaut cruises to an easy victory to win the Golden Gate Fields Handicap by 4 1/4 lengths on Saturday at Golden Gate Fields.

ALBANY, Calif. - Cosmonaut ($13.80) made a strong move at the quarter pole, opening a five-length lead into the stretch and cruised to an easy victory in the $150,000 at Golden Gate Fields on Saturday.

The longest shot on the board, Cosmonaut was kept in the clear all the way by jockey Tony Farina as he earned his first stakes victory and first career win on the main track. The switch from turf to dirt eliminated the Grade 3 designation on the race.

Cosmonaut sat third outside Symphony Sid and Cheroot until making his strong move into the stretch. He opened and was never challenged by favored Adreamisborn, who rallied from last but could not close on the winner. Cosmonaut covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.75, winning by 4 1/4 lengths.

"We needed the other horse to stop a little bit, and he never did," Adreamisborn's jockey Russell Baze said.

"He broke too well," Farina said, "but the others went on. He's got a long stride so that gave him a chance. I need to gallop him where he's alone.

"I tried him at the 3/8ths pole and knew I had something in hand so I waited till the quarter pole. I wanted to go early and get the advantage on Adreamisborn. I was surprised to win so easy and to win on dirt."

Thomas Brandebourger, trainer Patrick Biancone's assistant, said there was some concern when the race was moved off the turf early Saturday morning.

"We knew the horse was in good shape. He had to run somewhere because he is in very good shape," Brandebourger said. "We wanted to try dirt so it was a very good thing."

The victory, worth $82,500 was Cosmonaut's third in 11 starts, increasing his earnings to $206,255.