07/30/2004 11:00PM

Gold Dollar triggers trifecta worth $14,038 in Groomstick


MIAMI - A hotly contested pace was exactly what trainer Manny Azpurua was looking for and precisely what he got for his stretch-running Gold Dollar, who rallied from last place to score a 1 1/2-length upset victory in Saturday's $75,000 Groomstick Handicap at Calder.

Gold Dollar ($33.20) led a parade of longshots in the 6 1/2-furlong Groomstick, outfinishing 47-1 Last Charade and 27-1 My Last Chance, who finished another neck farther behind in third.

The top three finishers combined for a trifecta that paid $14,038 for a $2 ticket.

Built Up, the defending Groomstick champion and 3-5 favorite coming off a third-place finish in the Grade 3 Smile Sprint Handicap, was among the horses caught up in the early speed battle and finished a tiring sixth in the field of nine older horses.

Gold Dollar, a son of Seattle Slew, had finished a nonthreatening seventh in the six-furlong Smile Sprint, but found the added distance, easier competition, and the perfect pace scenario all to his favor in the Groomstick. He covered the distance in 1:18.48 over a fast track.

The victory was the second in five starts this season for Gold Dollar, who is owned by Julio Pazos. He used a similar move to rally from last to earn a one-length decision in the restricted Fappie's Notebook Stakes on June 13.