10/21/2006 12:00AM

Ex-maiden claimer wins Dover


It's safe to assume Adore the Gold won't be running for a claiming tag again anytime soon.

After dominating $50,000 maiden claimers sprinting in his career debut, earning a 96 Beyer Speed Figure, the 2-year-old colt Adore the Gold successfully stretched out to 1 1/16 miles to capture Saturday's $100,000 Dover Stakes at Delaware Park.

"As it looks now, we actually took a big shot putting him in for $50,000," trainer Mike Gorham said. "He won that race easy and numbers-wise, he ran real fast, so we thought we would give him a shot in the stake.

"The only question mark coming into the race today was the two turns," Gorham added. "His pedigree says two turns. He rates kind behind horses in the morning, and we have tried to get him to rate as much as we could and he has done that perfectly. So now he has answered the two-turn question."

Ridden by Joe Rocco for trainer Mike Gorham, Adore the Gold ($7.20), a son of Formal Gold owned by John Murphy, moved up to challenge 63-1 longshot pacesetter Mistycal Light approaching the final turn, opened up a clear lead coming into the stretch, and drove to a 2 1/2-length victory over heavy favorite Air Lord.

The Todd Pletcher-trained Air Lord, sent off at even-money in the field of six 2-year-olds, finished a length in front of third-place Kong the King.

The winning time over a fast track was 1:43.84.

Gorham said he was uncertain about Adore the Gold's next start.