Updated on 09/16/2011 6:37AM

A going away gift for Moubarak

Bill Denver/Equi-Photos
Pisces, under Roger Velez, wins the Grade 2 Appleton Handicap Saturday in only his second start in a stakes.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Mohammed Moubarak will switch from trainer to racing manager for his principal client, the Buckram Oak Stable, within the next several weeks. But before trading in his stopwatch for a briefcase, Moubarak registered one of the most noteworthy victories of his career when Pisces won Saturday's $150,000 Appleton Handicap* (click here for chart) by a head over North East Bound before a crowd of 29,889.

Pisces is one of the few horses Moubarak trains who is not owned by Buckram Oak. A 5-year-old, Pisces is owned by the Diamond C Stable of Gary Shapiro.

Pisces, third in Calder's Miami Mile Breeders' Cup Handicap in his only previous stakes appearance, raced near the hedge and at the back of the pack as Conormara and North East Bound engaged in an early speed duel. Pisces had only one horse beaten as the field turned into the stretch, but he finished full of run to catch North East Bound in the final strides.

North East Bound was game in defeat, shaking off Conormara and edging clear at midstretch. Capsized had early trouble and finished third. Neither half of the favored entry comprising Tijiyr and Spindrift threatened, finishing fourth and fifth, respectively.

Pisces, a son of Prized and Distaff Magic, paid $29.20. He was ridden to victory by Roger Velez and covered one mile over a "good" turf course in 1:39.41.

Among Pisces's victims in the Grade 2 Appleton was Tubrok, whom Moubarak had trained for Buckram Oak until last summer, when he was turned over to Bill Mott. Tubrok finished 10th and last as the 3-1 second choice.

"I thought Tubrok was the horse to beat, although I was quietly confident my horse could win the race," Moubarak said. "My main concern was the distance. I thought one mile might have been a little too short for him."

Moubarak said Pisces will likely be pointed to the $150,000 Canadian Handicap here Feb. 23.

for the Appleton Handicap chart.

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