11/18/2006 12:00AM

Gin Rummy King shows grit

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Gin Rummy King proved as tenacious as he is talented, holding on gamely in the face of several challenges to post a well deserved one-length decision over Dry Martini in the $45,000 Gizmo's Fortune Stakes at Calder.

Gin Rummy King, a bit rank in the early going, dragged jockey Manoel Cruz to the lead after the opening half-mile of the 1 1/16-mile Gizmo's Fortune. A son of Double Honor, Gin Rummy King then repulsed bids from 6-5 favorite Big Lover and Guapeton before withstanding a final surge from Dry Martini.

Big Lover, who finished second against older horses in the Grade 3 Spend a Buck Handicap last month but racing on only a week's rest, engaged the winner midway down the backstretch. The pair raced as a team into the stretch before Big Lover gradually weakened through the final furlong.

Guapeton, making only his fourth career start and his stakes debut, raced in front early but dropped back several lengths after being outmoved down the backstretch. To his credit, Guapeton fought back along the rail to get within a half-length of the winner nearing midstretch before succumbing gradually at the end.

Gin Rummy King covered the distance in 1:45.97 over a fast track and paid $7.40 as the second choice in a scratch-reduced field of six 3-year-olds. David Vivian trains Gin Rummy King for owner Dominic Vittese.