07/03/2007 11:00PM

High Finance surges in Tom Fool


ELMONT, N.Y. - High Finance hadn't been one to carry over his big allowance race wins into graded stakes competition. Until now, that is.

High Finance backed up his fast-time, high speed figure allowance win six weeks ago with a super performance in winning Wednesday's Grade 2, $200,000 Tom Fool Breeders' Cup Handicap by 2 3/4 lengths at Belmont Park.

Awesome Twist, 12 lengths back after the opening half-mile, rallied for second by a half-length over 1-2 favorite Commentator. Rondo, Will He Shine, and Istan completed the order of finish. Saint Anddan scratched.

It was the fifth victory from 14 starts for High Finance, but his first in six tries in a graded stakes. High Finance entered the Tom Fool off an eight-length score in a third-level allowance for which he earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 115.

"This is the first time he's run two really big races back to back," said Rick Violette, who trains High Finance for West Point Stable.

High Finance received a heady ride from John Velazquez, who kept his horse slightly off the rapid early pace established by Commentator and Rondo. Velazquez had High Finance in third place, about three-quarters of a length off the lead after a half-mile run in 43.99 seconds. They shot through to the lead along the rail in upper stretch and bounded home a convincing winner.

High Finance, a 4-year-old son of Talk Is Money, covered the seven furlongs in 1:21.81 and returned $13.20 to win.

Commentator, under Corey Nakatani, made the early lead through an opening quarter in 22.07 seconds. Edgar Prado then sent Rondo up after him in a second quarter that went in 21.92 seconds. Velazquez, meanwhile, kept High Finance up close along the rail, but didn't really ask his horse to run until midway around the far turn.

"Prado went with the other horse and I sat on my horse for a little bit," Velazquez said. "I sat there until the three-eighths pole and then I started getting after him. He was there for me. I was pretty confident off the turn."

Nakatani said his plan was to try and make the lead, but "unfortunately, the pace was too fast."

Violette said High Finance would most likely be pointed to the Grade 1 Forego at Saratoga on Sept. 1.