06/19/2004 12:00AM

Court's in Session wins Bay Meadows Breeders' Cup Sprint


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Court's in Session ($17.80) stalked a hot pace and made a strong move along the rail in the stretch to win the Grade 3 Bay Meadows Breeders' Cup Sprint on Saturday.

Claimed two starts back for $32,000 by trainer Brian Koriner, Court's in Session scored his third straight victory, holding off late-closing Debonair Joe by 2 1/4 lengths in the six-furlong race. Debonair Joe finished a neck in front of early pacesetter Hombre Rapido, who was a neck in front of favored Green Team. The winning time was 1:08.91.

Because the top three finishers were not Breeders' Cup eligible, the purse was only $80,000 instead of the listed $125,000.

"The best race on his form was a sprint. We claimed him with the plan of sprinting him," Koriner said.

Koriner and owner Evan Trommer had originally planned to run in the Sam J. Whiting at Pleasanton, but Koriner nominated the 5-year-old gelding to the Breeders' Cup Sprint and entered him when he saw the field.

"I figured he had enough talent and speed to run with these," Koriner said. "I really a lot of the horses were coming into the race in sub par form. With all the speed in the race, I knew they all run the same and if they don't get their own way it can be tough on them."

Winning jockey Roberto Gonzalez said he had a perfect trip despite being squeezed back a bit at the start.

Hombre Rapido grabbed the early lead with fractions of 21.91 and 44.19, but El Dorado Shooter was applying pressure from outside him.

Gonzalez dropped down to the rail approaching the turn and stayed on the rail the rest of the way. He pulled into the lead at the top of the stretch and pulled away late.

"When I saw all the speed in the race, I told my agent yesterday we had a shot because only Green Team, Debonair Joe and myself would be running at the end," Gonzalez said.

The victory, worth $41,250, was the seventh in 28 starts for Court's in Session, who has now earned $205,645.

"I can be a bit of a dreamer so I'd like to run in the Bing Crosby at Del Mar," Koriner said. "I don't see him not firing and not getting a piece."