01/10/2009 1:00AM

French Beret best in Bradley again


NEW ORLEANS - French Beret scored a repeat victory in Saturday's Grade 3 Col. E.R. Bradley by putting his nose in front of Golden Yank at the wire.

The $100,000 Bradley was one of two Grade 3's on the six-stakes card.

French Beret, ridden by James Graham, went 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.98 over a turf course rated as good, and paid $6.40 to win as the favorite while winning for the first time since taking this same race a year ago. He rated off the early pace, and came out just in front after dueling with Golden Yank down the stretch.

"I had my head down, riding him hard down the lane," said Graham. "In the last jump he threw himself on the wire."

Wise River, who led going into the stretch, held on gamely for third, finishing just a half-length back.

French Beret had been out of the winner's circle for a full year, and seems to have his own ideas about how to train and race.

"He's a funny horse to train," said trainer Mark Frostad. "He does things when he wants to do things, everything on his own time."

French Beret has thrived on the Fair Grounds turf, finishing in the money in 5 of 7 races. Last year, he won the Bradley and finished second in the Grade 2 Mervin Muniz Handicap, a race Frostad intends to point him to again.

"He ran so well in the Muniz last year, and the extra distance won't bother him," said Frostad. "He's got the ability, when he decides to use it."

The victory raised French Beret's bankroll to nearly $650,000 for his owners, Sam-Son Farms.

Gaudin: Mutadda pulls clear

In the first stakes of the day, the $75,000 F. W. Gaudin Memorial, Mutadda ($7) kept himself close to the pace, before taking over in the stretch and drawing off for a 1 1/2-length victory.

He went the six furlongs in 1:09.87. Grand Traverse, the longest shot in a field of six, finished second.

Ridden by Julien Leparoux and breaking from the outside post, Mutadda raced in fifth, two to three lengths off the pace, before moving forward on the turn and then tackling Grand Traverse in midstretch.

Trainer Tom Amoss said he thought the outside trip and the short field helped Mutadda overcome his issues with crowded fields.

"He's a big horse, but he's easily intimidated, and being outside helped him avoid that crowded feeling," said Amoss. "He placed himself a little closer to the front-runners and left himself less work to do."

Owned by Andrena Van Doren, Mutadda has had all of his success sprinting, and now has won 4 of 7 since beginning to train with Amoss.

Amoss is not sure where Mutadda will race next, and will consider stretching out the 5-year-old. He had run unsuccessfully in route races while trying to win his maiden before coming to Amoss.

"We're not married to sprinting, but that's all he's ever done for us," said Amoss. "We might try him in longer races."

Leggio: Classify closes strongly

Classify ($10.60) used a strong closing kick to get home first in the the $75,000 Dr. A. B. Leggio Memorial at 5 1/2 furlongs on turf.

Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan kept Classify close to the pace, before swinging her wide in the stretch to overpower Lady Chace, drawing away to win by 2 3/4 lengths. Lady Chace held on for second, with Apple Martini closing well to get up for third.

"The race set up perfect for her," said Bridgmohan. "I got her in a good position, and when I was ready, I showed her some daylight and she was gone."

Classify covered the distance in 1:04.67.

"She did come home nice," said trainer Steve Asmussen. "She's a very nice older mare, and one of her best races was over the turf here last year."

Classify earned $45,000, taking her lifetime earning past $250,000 for her owner, Winchell Thoroughbreds.