10/24/2003 11:00PM

Gamble pays off as Cajun Beat scores upset

Cajun Beat blazes six furlongs in 1:07.95 under jockey Cornelio Velasquez, winning by 2 1/4 lengths over Bluesthestandard in the Breeders' Cup Sprint on Saturday at Santa Anita Park.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Cajun Beat was given little respect by bettors, but the 3-year-old gelding left no doubt who was the best sprinter in the country Saturday. Shipping from Kentucky to Santa Anita, Cajun Beat scored a $47.60 upset with a dominating win in the $1 million .

Cajun Beat blazed six furlongs in 1:07.95 under jockey Cornelio Velasquez, winning by 2 1/4 lengths over Bluesthestandard. It was two lengths farther back to third-place finisher Shake You Down. Aldebaran finished fifth at 2-1, the third straight Bobby Frankel-trained favorite to finish off the board in a Breeders' Cup race.

While the win payoff was the second-highest in Sprint history, there was nothing phony about the victory. "We took a big gamble coming here," trainer Stephen Margolis said, "but he had been training so good, and his last race he ran such a big Beyer." That was the Grade 3 Kentucky Cup Sprint, in which Cajun Beat earned a 113 Beyer Speed Figure while scoring his first stakes win for owners Satish Sanan, Joseph Iracane, and his son John Iracane.

Sanan, who races under the name Padua Stables, won last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile with Vindication, who has been retired.

Sanan said Cajun Beat was gelded before he ever made a start, and an ownership interest in the son of Grand Slam was sold to the Iracanes, who are Kentucky businessmen.

Trained early this year by Cam Gambolati, Cajun Beat was transferred to the Kentucky-based Margolis when Gambolati returned to Florida.

Sanan said: "He's a changed horse ever since Steven had him. I'd say he has improved five or six lengths."

Racing for Margolis, Cajun Beat finished second in an allowance at Churchill, second in the Grade 3 Carry Back at Calder, then ran what looked to be the race of his career in the Kentucky Cup Sprint at Turfway, where he went six furlongs in 1:09.54.

He improved on that effort Saturday. Racing on a track that was fast and fair, Cajun Beat broke well from the outside, pressed the pace outside front-runners Zavata and Shake You Down through the turn, opened up into the lane, and was not threatened.

Bluesthestandard sat a rail trip behind the speed, scraped paint into the lane, and rallied for second. Shake You Down, who broke slowly from post 2, rushed forward to press the hot early fractions of 21.02 and 43.02 seconds and tired to third.

The $2 exacta combining 22-1 shot Cajun Beat and 13-1 runner-up Bluesthestandard paid $760.20, and the $1 superfecta paid $31,146.80. In head-to-head $2 wagering between Valid Video and Yankee Gentleman, the winner was Yankee Gentleman at $3.40.

Ethan Man was vanned off the track after the race when veterinarians noticed he was "off" in his left front. The preliminary diagnosis was swelling of his suspensory ligaments. It is not believed to be a serious injury.

The complete order of finish was Cajun Beat, Bluesthestandard, Shake You Down, Posse, Yankee Gentleman, Aldebaran, Captain Squire, Midas Eyes, Private Horde, Ethan Man, Great Notion, Zavata, and Valid Video.