06/09/2005 11:00PM

Flash: Beacon Shine wins three-way photo

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The experience gained in two prior starts served Beacon Shine well in Friday's Grade 3, $105,100 for 2-year-olds at Belmont Park. After breaking poorly from the rail in his previous start at Churchill Downs, Beacon Shine left the gate alertly from an outside post in the Flash, and that made the difference, but just barely.

Beacon Shine outdueled a stubborn Speed of Sound after battling with him for the entire five furlongs, then had to withstand a late bid from Union Course. At the wire, those three were separated by two noses, but it was Beacon Shine's nose that hit the wire first, with Union Course second and Speed of Sound third.

Speed of Sound was sent off the 3-5 favorite, even though his better-regarded stablemate, Master of Disaster, was scratched before the day's first race.

Beacon Shine ($6.60), with Castellano aboard, completed five furlongs on the fast track on a hot, steamy afternoon in 58.39 seconds. Speed of Sound and Beacon Shine clicked off fractions of 21.87 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 45.21 for a half-mile.

Beacon Shine, a colt by Montbrook owned by George Steinbrenner's Kinsman Stable, captured his debut at Keeneland on April 24, then was third in the Three Chimneys Juvenile at Churchill Downs on May 7, the day of the Kentucky Derby.

Trainer Bill Mott said that in Beacon Shine's last start, "he wasn't standing well, they tried to move him, he panicked, and he sat against the back of the gate. When he went in the gate today, he stood up, put his nose in the V, and left there."

* In stakes action Thursday, Fifth Avenue ($7.30) remained undefeated after posting a nose decision over 27-1 outsider Blissful Trip in the five-furlong $81,000 Fashion Stakes.