11/18/2006 1:00AM

Forty Crowns upsets, Ah Day runs out


Midway on the far turn in Saturday's $75,000 Northern Dancer at Laurel, the five-horse race was unfolding basically as expected. The 1-5 favorite Ah Day was tracking the pacesetting Forty Crowns and appeared ready to go by any moment that jockey Mario Pino asked.

But to the shock and dismay of sure-thing players, as Pino began scrubbing on Ah Day, Ah Day began spinning his wheels. Forty Crowns widened the lead from a length late on the turn to two and then three lengths in midstretch, and, as the Ah Day show bettors surely noticed, Rhythmn Master and Belongs to Joe quickly were gaining on the chalk. At the wire, it was Forty Crowns by 9 1/2 lengths over Rhythmn Master, with Belongs to Joe another 14 3/4 lengths back in third.

Ah Day tired and was eased, finishing last, beaten a total 55 1/2 lengths.

Forty Crowns, trained by Edmond Gaudet and ridden by Rosie Napravnik, ran the 1 1/8 miles in 1:38.96 and paid $9.40 to win, $8.60 to place, and $14.60 to show.

Ah Day, who came into the race off back-to-back triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures, took $23,469 of the $39,334 bet in the win pool and $46,307 of the $50,333 in the show pool.

Rhythmn Master paid $12.80 to place and $26.20 to show. Belongs to Joe's show price was a stunning $42.80.

"I don't know what happened," Pino said. "That was not him on the backside. He let up on me pretty quickly. He started to pull me a little bit, but when I asked him to go, he backed up and he kept going back."

Ah Day came back with no apparent physical problems, Pino said.