07/01/2001 11:00PM

Futural DQ'd from Gold Cup victory


INGLEWOOD, Calif. ? Futural's reign as the Hollywood Gold Cup winner lasted nine minutes on Sunday, the time it took Hollywood Park stewards to disqualify him from first to third for a bumping incident in early stretch. Aptitude, who finished second, was moved up to first in the Grade 1 race.

Stewards Pete Pedersen, George Slender, and Tom Ward ruled that Futural interfered with Skimming outside the eighth pole, an incident that they decided cost Skimming a placing. Their decision resulted in the promotion of Aptitude, giving the 2000 Kentucky Derby runner-up his first stakes win.

Twenty minutes earlier, Frankel had won another Grade 1 by disqualification when Senure was placed first in the United Nations at Monmouth.

The Hollywood Gold Cup bumping incident came when Captain Steve, Skimming, and Futural were racing together in front, with Aptitude in fourth.

Futural, who was ridden by Chris McCarron, was outside of Skimming and Captain Steve when he came in and bumped Skimming. Futural pulled clear in the final furlong and won by 1 1/2 lengths, running 1 1/4 miles in 2:01.79 before an ontrack crowd of 26,253.

"I thought they'd leave the number up," said McCarron, who has not won the Gold Cup in 19 attempts. "I didn't think it had any bearing on the outcome. I haven't delved into the movies, but I didn't think it was my fault."

Aptitude, who was not bothered by the bumping incident, closed on the outside to finish three lengths in front of Skimming, who was followed by Captain Steve and the hopelessly beaten Power Wing.

The disqualification gave Juddmonte Farms and trainer Bobby Frankel a one-two finish, and their first Gold Cup win since Marquetry pulled an upset in 1991.

"It's the game; it happens," Frankel said. "[Skimming] took a hard bump. I'm not saying he would have beaten him, but he took a hard bump."

Aptitude was ridden by Laffit Pincay Jr., who had the 4-year-old in last place on the backstretch, well behind leaders Power Wing and Skimming, who set fractions of 23.35 and 46.78 seconds. At that point, Frankel was discouraged that jockey Garrett Gomez did not have Skimming in front.

"I wanted Garrett to go," Frankel said. "I wanted him to put that horse away. He did help me win because he was in a position to get a good bump. He was in the right spot turning for home."

Skimming took over at the half-mile pole, but was quickly challenged by Captain Steve, the 7-10 favorite, who had closed along the rail. After a sustained drive, Captain Steve was empty in late stretch.

"No horse can be put in a drive where I put him in a drive and still be around at the finish," said Gary Stevens, who rode Captain Steve. "I'll take full responsibility for the loss today."

On the final turn, Futural rallied three wide to join the leaders. Pincay kept Aptitude in the clear behind the trio and thought he would catch Skimming in the stretch.

"I had my horse on the outside and I saw Chris drop in," Pincay said. "I still thought I'd win, but [Futural] pulled away from me. The second and third time I saw it, it looked like a hard bump. I thought they'd take him down.

"I'll take it. I've been in Chris's spot many times."

After the decision was announced, Craig Dollase, Futural's trainer, ducked into the film room near the winner's circle to be alone for a few moments before going back to the box seat area.

"It cost the other horse the placing, but I thought he was a tired horse," Dollase said of Skimming.

"We won so easily, too. All that preparation and this happens. But he was so just impressive. You can't really blame anyone; you have to accept it."

Honeymoon: Amends for McCarron

Chris McCarron's nightmare day brightened later when he guided Innit to a dream run to win the $250,000 Honeymoon Breeders' Cup Handicap.

The slight favorite in a field of nine 3-year-old fillies, Innit ($7.80) closed from last on the backstretch to win her first stakes in the United States. She is owned by Richard Duchossois and trained by Ron McAnally.

"We had to get through a lot of fillies and I got through every step of the way," McCarron said. "I never had to check her hard. I had to steady a little at the three-eighths, just to wait for room."

A three-time stakes winner in Europe last year, Innit, who carried 117 pounds, ran 1 1/4 miles on turf in 2:01.28. She finished a neck in front of Live Your Dreams, who closed from eighth at the top of the stretch and led in deep stretch. Beefeater Baby, who stalked the pace and led at the eighth pole, finished third. OK to Dance, the 120-pound highweight, who won the Palisades Stakes at Keeneland in April, finished seventh.

Triple Bend: Ceeband surprises

Ceeband pulled the biggest stakes upset of the spring-summer meeting when he won Sunday's $296,000 Triple Bend Breeders' Cup Handicap, returning $91.80.

Ceeband, who stalked a torrid pace before rallying for the victory, won by a half-length over Squirtle Squirt, with Elaborate 2 1/2 lengths farther back in third. The victory was the richest win for Ceeband's jockey, Matt Garcia.

Garcia had Ceeband in fourth along the rail on the backstretch, chasing Squirtle Squirt and Explicit, who dueled through fractions of 21.61 and 43.72 seconds in the seven-furlong race. Ceeband was third at the top of the stretch. He quickly went past a fading Explicit, but needed the entire stretch to run down Squirtle Squirt. A 4-year-old, Ceeband finished seven furlongs in 1:21.17.

"At the three-sixteenths pole, I asked him and he responded really well," Garcia said.

Ceeband carried 110 pounds, the lightest assignment in the 10-horse field. A California-bred, Ceeband won his first stakes in the Triple Bend. He is owned CRK Stable and trained by John Sadler. A winner of 5 of 24 starts, he has earned $443,782.

"It was a perfect trip," Sadler said. "He was able to save ground and come out in the stretch."

Squirtle Squirt, the lone 3-year-old in the field, was the 2-1 favorite. Caller One was scratched.

A Gleam: Go Go goes

Go Go continued her remarkable 4-year-old campaign with a measured half-length win over Kitty on the Track in Sunday's $200,000 A Gleam Handicap at Hollywood Park.

Ridden by Eddie Delahoussaye, Go Go ($4.60) won her fifth stakes of 2001 in the A Gleam, running seven furlongs in 1:22.19.

The 124-pound highweight, Go Go was third early behind pacesetters Kitty on the Track and Image of Glory. Kalookan Queen, the expected pacesetter, broke poorly and never made the front. Racing wide, Go Go took the lead at the three-eighths pole and was hand ridden to the line.

"When she's right, she fights," Delahoussaye said. "I didn't want to go to the lead that soon, but she did it so easy."

Kitty on the Track, making her first start in 18 months, remained close on the inside under jockey Laffit Pincay Jr., but could not pass the winner.

"It was a giant effort," said Bill Spawr, who trains Kitty on the Track. "Laffit said she just kept coming back."

Kitty on the Track finished three lengths in front of Nany's Sweep, who was followed by Kalookan Queen and Image of Glory.

The Grade 2 A Gleam was the longest race of Go Go's 14-race career.