05/13/2006 12:00AM

Dirtymoposse gets long-awaited win in Reappeal

Jim Lisa Photos
Dirtymoposse wins the Reappeal Stakes on Saturday at Calder Race Course.

MIAMI - Dirtymoposse, a five-furlong turf specialist named for Nascar driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., motored past the tiring leaders in deep stretch to upset Saturday's $45,000 Reappeal Stakes.

Dirtymoposse, who had not won a race in eight starts dating back to March 2005 at Tampa Bay Downs, rallied from good position just off the early pace, then withstood a belated charge from Gin Rummy Champ to register a neck decision in the five-furlong Reappeal. The same margin separated the runner-up from third-place finisher True Love's Secret. Placido, the defending champion, finished fourth after forging to a clear lead near midstretch.

Dirtymoposse, a 5-year-old son of Minister's Mark, was bred by his trainer, Greg Griffith, and Griffith's wife, Donna. Both are lifelong Nascar fans and name most of their homebreds for the drivers they admire most. "Dirty Mo Posse" is a name copyrighted by Earnhardt, which was inspired by his friends from his hometown of Mooresville, N.C.

"We got permission from Dale to name the horse," said Griffith. "He has one of Dirtymoposse's win pictures in his office and autographed another for us, although we've never met him in person."

Dirtymoposse returned $27.60 after covering five furlongs in 56.33 seconds over a firm course. He was ridden to victory by Elvis Trujillo.

Earnhardt was scheduled to compete in the Dodge Charger 500 at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina later that evening.

"Dale will get an email from us tonight but probably won't find out the horse won until tomorrow," said Griffith. "Right now he's focused on his race."

Hopefully the Dodge Charger 500 won't be as roughly run as the Reappeal. Several horses encountered traffic problems along the way, including runner-up Gin Rummy Champ, who finished strongly after being blocked behind a wall of horses inside the eighth pole. Love My Mountain, co-favored at 8-5 along with True Love's Secret, had to steady in tight quarters while disputing the pace into the far turn. Cervelo and Key Deputy bumped leaving the gate, with Cervelo recovering to finish full of run before galloping out past the leaders shortly after the wire.

Frolicing enters sprint off DQ

Two first-level allowance races carded at six furlongs for fillies and mares highlight Monday's nine-race program.

Frolicing, who lost an apparent victory via a stewards' disqualification on opening day, figures to be a heavy favorite in the fifth race. A 3-year-old Royal Academy filly, Frolicing rallied from midpack after encountering early trouble to gain control inside the eighth pole, only to drift in the final furlong and impede runner-up My Lucky Free. The pair dominated the rest of the competition, finishing five lengths clear of their nearest pursuers.

Patti's Goldengirl finished more than eight lengths behind Frolicing in their previous encounter after breaking from the extreme outside post in a full field of 12, but is much better drawn in post 2 for the rematch.

The eighth race, to be decided under slightly tougher entry-level optional claiming and allowance conditions, figures to be a much more wide-open event. One Smart Lady, defeated as an even-money favorite following a slow start against similar opposition on May 1, gets a slight edge to make amends in an evenly matched field that includes Clever Miss Trixie, Carsons Regal Lady, Defined Borders, and the speedy Sophie's Crown.