12/09/2006 12:00AM

Easy Red upsets in Jennings


Winless on dirt in more than a year, Easy Red returned to the main track at Laurel on Saturday and came back with a victory in the $75,000 Jennings Handicap, rallying through the stretch to defeat Tartlet by a head.

Easy Red's last win had come on turf in July at Delaware Park, where he had gained his last main-track win in June 2005.

Jockey Steve Hamilton kept the 13-1 Easy Red well off the early pace set by Diamond David, who was tracked by Tartlet, the 9-5 favorite, and Forty Crowns. After fractions of 24.20 seconds for the quarter-mile, 48.42 for the half, and six furlongs in 1:13.76, Tartlet, with Mario Pino up, made his move around the far turn to take the lead and looked in command rounding into the stretch. Diamond David did not yield easily, however, and the two battled in the early stretch before Diamond David began to fade.

Hamilton, meanwhile, put Easy Red into action, coming up outside the two leaders and into the front, maintaining a slim lead to the wire.

"When I asked him to run," said Hamilton, "he just did his job."

Tartlet held second by 1 1/4 lengths over a wide-rallying Due.

Easy Red ($29.20), a 4-year-old gelded son of Charismatic trained by James Murphy, finished the 1 1/8 miles for Maryland-breds in 1:54.90 on a fast track, earning $45,000 for his owner, Dumbarton Farm.