08/25/2009 11:00PM

Fiddlers Afleet hangs on to win Albany


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - The rapid fractions Fiddlers Afleet was running early in Wednesday's appeared to be catching up to him in midstretch.

Slevin, who had raced in fourth position early, came up to Fiddlers Afleet inside the eighth pole, and most observers expected him to go right on by. But Fiddlers Afleet, who ran six furlongs in 1:10.36, had something in reserve and was able to hold off Slevin at the wire by a neck to win the Albany for New York-bred 3-year-olds at Saratoga. Slevin was second by 5 1/4 lengths over longshot Summer Share. Legal Consent, Tall Poppi and Pocket Cowboys completed the order of finish.

The win was the second straight for Fiddlers Afleet and first around two turns and at 1 1/8 miles. It was also the fourth win on the card for Ramon Dominguez, who looked like he was setting himself up to be the goat early on the Albany.

Breaking from post 4, Fiddlers Afleet broke sharply and Dominguez guided him right to the rail. With pressure from Pocket Cowboys, Fiddlers Afleet went his first quarter-mile in 22.83 seconds and the half in 46.02.

"My intentions were not to make the lead no matter what. My horse just broke very, very fast. At that point I really committed myself," Dominguez said. "I wasn't too happy with the pressure I was getting from [Pocket Cowboys], but at that point it was not really a matter of whether I wanted to get back or not. I really couldn't, he was already in gear."

Fiddlers Afleet opened up a little breathing room on the turn, but Slevin, under Javier Castellano, was on the move. Slevin crept alongside Fiddlers Afleet inside the eighth pole, but Fiddlers Afleet responded to Dominguez's right-handed urging and held on while running 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.78. He returned $3.60 as the favorite.

"The other horse came to him and he didn't let up ,and he just found another gear totally out of courage and went on to running again,'' Dominguez said.

Fiddlers Afleet is owned by Marc Ferrell and trained by Mike Hushion, who said he was "uncomfortable" watching the race.

"It looked like what I was afraid was going to happen was happening at the sixteenth pole, and then he reached down," Hushion said. "I was really surprised he was that fresh early. When he busted sharp out of the gate, he just took Ramon, I guess."

Slevin had to settle for second for the third straight race. He also finished second to Legal Consent in the Mike Lee at Belmont and to Pocket Cowboys in the New York Derby at Finger Lakes. The two races plus the Albany comprise the Big Apple Triple, which offers a $250,000 bonus to the connections of a horse that can win all three.

Earlier on the card, Sumo was the recipient of a perfect trip under Jeremy Rose to win the $70,850 Pleasant Colony Stakes for 3-year-olds.

Sumo sat third behind dueling leaders Guam Typhoon and Santana Six before taking command turning for home. Sumo, a son of Fusaichi Pegasus owned by Stone Farm and trained by Graham Motion, covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.54 and returned $9.20 to win.