05/12/2005 12:00AM

Etc. . . .


Motivator looks like the horse to beat in the Epsom Derby on June 4 after a decisive victory in the key Derby prep at York on Thursday. Motivator posted a 1 1/2-length victory over The Geezer in the Group 2, $271,000 Dante Stakes with a strong late run under Johnny Murtagh, clocking 2:16.17 for the 1 1/4 miles, 88 yards on soft ground. . . . Shirley Girten, the leading female trainer in the nation by wins from 1992 to 1994 and Thistledown's leading trainer from 1991 to 1995, won the sixth race at Thistledown on Thursday with Jazzy Combo, her first starter since May 2003. Girten, a cancer survivor, sent Jazzy Combo out to win a conditioned $3,500 claiming race.