10/24/2003 11:00PM

Keeneland: M B Sea stuns Tenpins


M B Sea ended the Keeneland fall meet on a surprising note by defeating heavily favored Tenpins by a length in the 45th running of the $163,800 Fayette Stakes.

Owned by Mike Bruder and trained by Dale Romans, M B Sea, a 4-year-old colt by 1996 Breeders' Cup Classic winner Alphabet Soup, returned $71.40 as the longest shot in a field of seven older horses. Always in a good tracking position under Craig Perret, M B Sea finished 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.30 over a fast track.

Perret won the Fayette last year aboard Tenpins when he was the 1-2 favorite; this time, Tenpins was the even-money favorite under Robby Albarado. Forcing all the pace just outside of Quest, the 2-1 second choice, Tenpins set fractions of 25.40 seconds, 50.20, and 1:14.65 before finishing 2 1/2 lengths ahead of a third-place dead heat between Changeintheweather and Seattle Fitz.

After the dead heat, the subsequent order of finish was Sonic West, Country Be Gold, and Quest.

The Fayette marked the first stakes win in 28 career starts for

M B Sea, who previously had won four races, including 1 of 10 this year. The colt now has earned nearly $360,000.

"Things unfolded perfectly for my horse," said Perret.

The Grade 3 Fayette highlighted a four-race card that closed out the 17-day fall meet. Romans, who topped the Keeneland trainer standings at the 2001 and 2002 fall meets, had struggled throughout this meet, winning with just one of his first 28 starters. But the Fayette, he said, "ended the meet the right way. This colt had hit the board a few times in stakes, but he really put it all together today."

Romans said the next probable start for M B Sea is the $500,000 Clark Handicap, a Grade 2 race on Nov. 28 at Churchill Downs.

The $2 exacta paid $236.80. A winning $1 pick four ticket on the entire Saturday card returned $11,416.60.