12/27/2008 12:00AM

Fabulous Strike shows he can rate

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Fabulous Strike, who usually runs on the lead, came from off the pace under Ramon Dominguez to win the Grade 3 Gravesend on Saturday at Aqueduct.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Trainer Todd Beattie has always maintained that his speedy sprinter Fabulous Strike could rate. In Saturday's Grade 3 Gravesend Handicap at Aqueduct, Beattie's theory was proven correct.

Outsprinted early by True Quality, Fabulous Strike came from off the pace to run down True Quality and win the $103,100 Gravesend by 1 3/4 lengths. It was 3 1/2 lengths back to Good Card in third. Lucky Island finished last.

Half the field scratched out of the Gravesend, including Songster, whom trainer Tom Albertrani did not want to run on the wet track. Aqueduct's inner dirt track was listed muddy to start the day, but was upgraded to good for the Gravesend.

Breaking from the rail, jockey Ramon Dominguez figured he would try to send Fabulous Strike to the lead as he had done in so many of his previous races. But True Quality, under C.C. Lopez, was quicker out of the gate and opened up a two-length lead after running an opening quarter mile in 22.28 seconds.

Dominguez guided Fabulous Strike into the two-path and was content to sit behind True Quality through a half-mile in 45.24 seconds and five-eighths in 57.23 seconds. Fabulous Strike motored past True Quality at the sixteenth pole and covered the six furlongs in 1:09.74 while carrying 126 pounds, 11 more than the runner-up.

"[True Quality] was very quick out of there today," Dominguez said. "After a few jumps I realized I wasn't going to be able to make the lead - I just took a hold. From Day 1 I rode this horse, [Beattie] has always said to me to keep in mind that he will come from off the pace if you need him to. Today, he was just waiting for me to get after him, and he finished up pretty nice.''

Fabulous Strike, a 5-year-old gelded son of Smart Strike, is now 12 for 19 and has earned $939,412 for owner Walter Downey. It was the first win from off the pace for Fabulous Strike since his maiden score at Penn National on Feb. 23, 2006.

"I've always shared that with [Dominguez] that I thought that would be very possible with him,'' Beattie said about Fabulous Strike's ability to come from off the pace. "He seems very versatile. He settles underneath you good. I though it would work out.''

Beattie said he would like to take Fabulous Strike to Dubai for the $2 million Golden Shaheen on March 28.