04/04/2009 12:00AM

Dixie Chatter finishes big in Arcadia


ARCADIA, Calif. - Dixie Chatter won his first stakes since July in Saturday's $150,000 Arcadia Handicap.

Unlike recent stakes, where he looked like a winner in early stretch and was caught, Dixie Chatter was moving best at the finish of the Grade 2 Arcadia Handicap, run at a mile on turf.

Ridden by Tyler Baze, Dixie Chatter ($9.80) was timed in 1:34.12 and won by three-quarters of a length.

Mr Napper Tandy, an 18-1 outsider, finished second, a neck in front of Madeo, who closed from last in the final quarter-mile to finish a length behind Dixie Chatter. Desert Code, the winner of the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint last October, finished last of eight after stalking the early pace.

The victory was Dixie Chatter's first win since a division of the restricted Oceanside Stakes at Del Mar last July. Last month, Dixie Chatter was third in the Grade 1 Frank Kilroe Mile, losing by three-quarters of a length after leading in the stretch.

A 4-year-old colt by Dixie Union, Dixie Chatter races for breeder Herman Sarkowsky and Marty and Pam Wygod. Dixie Chatter has won 4 of 12 starts and $458,196, and is trained by Richard Mandella.

Santana Mile: Rail Trip barely hangs on

The nose margin between Rail Trip and Dakota Phone revealed only part of the story from the $86,877 Santana Mile.

Jockey Jose Valdivia Jr. never urged Rail Trip through the race, and the quiet ride almost cost him victory.

After leading by three lengths at the eighth pole, Rail Trip's margin nearly evaporated at the finish. The last few strides produced anxious moments for Rail Trip's backers, not to mention owners Mace and Samantha Siegel and trainer Ron Ellis, but the 4-year-old gelding retained his unbeaten record after five starts.

"He didn't have to make it that close," Ellis said. "I don't think he knew that horse was coming up that quick."

Rail Trip ($2.40) ran a mile in 1:35.70. Dakota Phone finished two lengths clear of Dixie Meister.

Jockey Rafael Bejarano thought Dakota Phone had caught Rail Trip in the final stride.

"I kept riding," he said. "I thought I'd pass him."

Cause finished last in a field of four. Ball Four and Silent Soul were scratched early on Saturday.

Valdivia had confidence that Rail Trip would reach the wire in front. He had Rail Trip in front by a length through early fractions of 24.28 and 48.31 seconds.

"I don't think that's all there is in the tank," he said. "My horse picked it up again in the gallop out."

Rail Trip won his first stakes in the Santana Mile, increasing his earnings to $167,790. By Jump Start, Rail Trip will be pointed for the $150,000 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap at Hollywood Park on May 9.