09/28/2007 11:00PM

Danzon easily adapts to new surface

EmailFLORENCE, Ky. - The line of thinking that grass specialists tend to fare well on Polytrack proved correct in emphatic fashion when Danzon cruised to a five-length triumph in the Grade 3, $160,000 Kentucky Cup Distaff, the richest of the four supporting stakes on the 14th annual Kentucky Cup card Saturday at Turfway Park.

With Julien Leparoux riding for trainer Patrick Biancone, Danzon lagged early before angling out for the drive, and after collaring Delicate Dynamite approaching the eighth pole, the 4-year-old Royal Academy filly glided away to an easy score.

Danzon, owned by Joseph Allen, returned $6.40 as the favorite in a field of 11 fillies and mares after finishing 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.42 over Polytrack. The KC Distaff was the 14th career start for Danzon but her first on any surface other than turf. She had finished third to males in the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic in May and most recently was fifth in the Grade 1 Diana at Saratoga.

Delicate Dynamite had powered to the lead turning for home before settling for second behind Danzon, another length in front of a mild late run from Kettleoneup, the 7-2 third choice. India, the 5-2 second choice, stalked the pace before fading to ninth.

Juvenile: Texas Fever by a neck

One race earlier, Texas Fever ($7.80), with Leparoux aboard, gamely fought off a stretch-long bid from Chitoz to record a neck triumph in the Grade 3, $100,000 KC Juvenile.

Owned by Stonerside Stable and trained by Michael Stidham, Texas Fever took the lead turning for home in the 1 1/16-mile race, then was under a stiff drive to preserve his narrow margin after Chitoz, the lukewarm 5-2 favorite, pulled virtually even leaving the eighth pole under Chris DeCarlo.

Texas Fever, said Leparoux, "was a little green in the stretch, but took off again when I asked him."

Stidham said the BC Juvenile or Juvenile Turf "hasn't been in our minds, but after a nice win like that, you have to think about it."

The KC Juvenile was his first stakes attempt after taking three cracks to win a maiden race over Polytrack at Arlington Park.

Blackberry Road couldn't overcome traffic problems when closing belatedly to finish third, 2o1/2 lengths behind Chitoz in a field of 10 2-year-olds. The winning time was 1:44.95.

Sprint: 'Pirates' puts nose in front

Piratesonthelake ($6), fresh off a dead-heat victory for win against older horses in the Arlington Sprint Handicap, was involved in yet another close photo, this time claiming a solo victory by a nose over late-charging Base Commander in the Grade 3, $100,000 KC Sprint.

"Boy, that one was close, too," said Jimmy DiVito, who trains Piratesonthelake for the B Jock Racing of fellow Chicago resident Greg Didech. "He runs hard, this horse. He's pretty versatile, too."

Piratesonthelake, ridden by Diego Sanchez, laid comfortably off the pace set by Stormin Baghdad before making his winning run. The gelding dead-heated in the Arlington Sprint after making all the pace.

Piratesonthelake, a Florida-bred by Lake Austin, finished six furlongs in 1:09.09. He would have to be supplemented to the BC Sprint for a 9 percent fee, but DiVito indicated the horse was likely to run instead on a race on the Oct. 27 BC undercard, the $200,000 Select Stakes. Supplementing the horse "would cost a lot of money, so I would doubt it," he said.

Base Commander, with DeCarlo riding for trainer Todd Pletcher, "ran great the whole way," said DeCarlo. "We ran out of real estate."

Juvenile Fillies: Sky Mom holds on

Sky Mom ($10.40) laid just off the pace before overtaking Palanka City and holding off a late charge from 14-1 shot Mims Eppi to capture the $100,000 KC Juvenile Fillies by three-quarters of a length. She finished a mile in 1:38.11.

Owned by Heather Stark and trained by Steve Asmussen, Sky Mom was coming off a seventh-place finish in the Grade 2 Adirondack Stakes at Saratoga last out.

"I was comfortable laying off horses early, and I knew Steve would have her ready at the quarter pole onward," said winning rider Terry Thompson.

For Stark, the daughter of prominent owner Bill and Corinne Heiligbrodt, the stakes win was her first as an owner. "This is very exciting," she said.