05/17/2003 12:00AM

Gallorette: Carib Lady upsets


BALTIMORE - No one would have blamed jockey Pat Valenzuela had he opted not to come to Pimlico after being bounced off his Preakness mount, Ten Cents a Shine, on Wednesday morning by owner Ken Ramsey and trainer D. Wayne Lukas.

Valenzuela did make the cross-country trip from his California base and made the best of a bad situation Saturday by guiding Carib Lady to an upset victory in the Grade 3, $125,000 Gallorette Handicap for fillies and mares on turf.

"I had to honor my commitments," said Valenzuela, who had only three mounts on the card. "A big part of this game is honoring your commitments. Unfortunately, we were not honored with a commitment made to us. Those things happen. I understand Mr. Ramsey has a lot of faith in Jerry Bailey. I don't think the remark should have been made that he has the best rider because I think I'm the best rider. I think I would have won the Preakness on his horse."

Though Carib Lady had shown speed in marathon races in Europe and in her most recent start at Keeneland, trainer Todd Pletcher instructed Valenzuela to keep Carib Lady behind horses before making his move.

Lady Linda and Affirmed Dancer showed early foot and were soon joined by Saranac Lake. Affirmed Dancer dropped back down the backstretch while Lady of the Future made a bold move to join Lady Linda and Saranac Lake. But around the turn, Carib Lady ranged up behind horses, split Lady Linda and Saranac Lake, and held off a resurgent Affirmed Dancer to win by a neck.

Carib Lady, owned by Gaillardia Racing, covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:50.69 over a yielding turf course and returned $14.40. Carib Lady was the fifth choice in a seven-horse field reduced from 14 because of the soft turf condition.