06/02/2007 12:00AM

Fabulous Strike shows great promise in victory

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Fabulous Strike served notice that he could be a major factor in the national sprint ranks when he rolled to victory under a hand ride from Ramon Dominguez in the Grade 3 Aristides Breeders' Cup, one of three stakes run Saturday at Churchill Downs.

After speeding straight to the lead in the six-furlong Aristides, Fabulous Strike easily turned back his only serious challenger, Cougar Cat, soon after turning for home. At the wire, Fabulous Strike was two lengths in front, finishing in 1:07.64 over a fast track, just five-hundredths off the track and stakes record set two years ago by Kelly's Landing.

"Awesome," is how Todd Beattie, the trainer of Fabulous Strike, described the victory.

Fabulous Strike, owned by the Tea Party Stable, paid $3.60 as the favorite in a field of five older horses. A 4-year-old gelding by Smart Strike, he was entered off three straight wins at Mountaineer Park, where he had earned Beyer Speed Figures of 115, 119, and 118. He earned $99,882 from the $159,600 total purse with his first graded stakes win Saturday.

Beattie, based primarily at Penn National, said he most likely will run Fabulous Strike next in the Grade 2, $500,000 Smile Sprint Stakes on the July 7 Summit of Speed program at Calder in Florida.

Cougar Cat, the longest shot at 23-1, finished second, another five lengths before Gaff, with Greg's Gold and Off Duty rounding out the order of finish. Saint Anddan and Santana Strings were early scratches.

Lady Joanne wins Dogwood

The Kentucky Derby connections of trainer Carl Nafzger and jockey Calvin Borel teamed for another stakes victory at the Churchill spring meet when favored Lady Joanne ($4.60) pushed past High Again in the final sixteenth mile for a one-length triumph in the Grade 3 Dogwood Breeders' Cup Stakes.

After stalking the pace from the rail, Lady Joanne angled out for the drive and was hard-pressed to get past a stubborn High Again, who had taken over for Moonee Ponds with a bold outside run approaching the quarter pole.

High Again finished second, another 2 3/4 lengths before late-running Upcoming Story in a field of eight 3-year-old fillies.

Lady Joanne, bred and owned by Bentley Smith, now is a two-time graded winner from just six career starts. She won the Grade 2 Golden Rod Stakes here last fall and has won 4 of 6 starts overall. Victory in the Dogwood, which was her third in a row, was worth $101,698 from the $167,550 total purse.

Therecomesatiger beats Icy Atlantic

Therecomesatiger ($10.20) got a great inside stalking trip under Jamie Theriot before angling out for the drive and edging past favored Icy Atlantic in the final sixteenth mile to capture the $105,245 Opening Verse Handicap by a half-length.

Tom Proctor trains Therecomesatiger, a 5-year-old Florida-bred gelding, for owner-breeder Charles Patton. The winner finished 1o1/16 miles in 1:43.64 over a firm turf and now has won 8 of 17 starts.

An original field of eight was cut in half by four early scratches. Go Between finished third and Free Thinking ran fourth and last.