06/03/2006 12:00AM

Equal Opportunity scores over four foes

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Only a hard rain in Louisville, Ky., kept Equal Opportunity from running in a grass race Friday at Churchill Downs. Off the turf at Churchill, Equal Opportunity found himself on a van to Arlington Park. Once there, he made short work of just four opponents Saturday in the Awad Stakes, which scratched down from eight horses to five.

Trained by Bill Mott for the Pin Oak Stable, and ridden by Eddie Martin in the $41,625 Awad, Equal Opportunity went off the heavy favorite and paid $3.60 after beating Devilofarush by 2 3/4 lengths. Devilofarush finished more than five lengths clear of El Nino, but was disqualified to last for fouling Four Boy Sham just past the half-mile pole. El Nino was moved up to second, High Adventure to third.

Equal Opportunity scratched out a maiden win by a nose during the Gulfstream meet, then finished fifth and third in entry-level allowance races in Kentucky. But he got an ideal trip on Saturday stalking a fast half-mile over a firm course, and quickened past the dueling pacesetters, High Adventure and El Nino, after switching leads at the top of the stretch. Equal Opportunity was timed for the mile in 1:36.45 on a firm course.