09/06/2004 12:00AM

G P Fleet best in Tri-State Handicap


Gorylla, winner of the 2003 Carlos Pellegrini in Argentina, finished eighth of nine horses in his North American debut in Monday's $75,000 Tri-State Handicap at Ellis Park, a race G P Fleet won by a neck over Flying Jazz.

G P Fleet's victory in the closing-day Tri-State capped a banner weekend for his owners - Elaine, Richard and Bertram Klein - and trainer Steve Flint. They also won the other Ellis stakes race of the Labor Day weekend, taking Saturday's Dade Turf Classic with May Gator. Both horses were claimed earlier in their racing careers.

Like May Gator, G P Fleet closed effectively over an Ellis turf course that played as fast as a golf green. Roughly 10 lengths behind in sixth after Banned In Boston set splits of 24.03, 46.73 and 1:09.41 in the 1 1/16-mile Tri-State, he began to rapidly advance along the inside and gradually proved best over Flying Jazz and third-place Gretchen's Star, whom also rallied from off the pace.

Gorylla - who was making his first start since finishing thirteenth in the Dubai Sheema Classic in March - offered no rally from the back of the pack. He was beaten 5.75 lengths as the third betting choice.

G P Fleet, a 4-year-old gelded son of Northern Afleet, won for the first time in seven starts this year. He raced 1 1/16 miles under Rafael Bejarano over a firm course in 1:39.22, paying $6.80 as the favorite.

Last year he won the Regaey Island stakes on the Ellis Park grass course.