01/01/2007 12:00AM

King's Drama wins off bench

Email

King's Drama ended a layoff of nearly seven months with a gritty win over Railroad in Sunday's $150,000 San Gabriel Handicap at Santa Anita.

The victory was the third stakes win for trainer Bobby Frankel in the first five racing days of the meeting.

King's Drama ($3.80) rallied from second to win the Grade 2 San Gabriel by a half-length over Railroad, the pacesetter. Ridden by David Flores, King's Drama stalked Railroad through fractions of 24.40 and 49.32 seconds, trailing by two lengths. With an outside rally in the stretch, King's Drama, 7, did not take the lead until the final sixteenth. He ran 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:48.53.

Hendrix finished an unlucky third. He was well-placed in early stretch but was stuck behind Railroad and King's Drama and did not have a clear path in the final furlong.

Owned by Gary Tanaka, King's Drama has won 10 of 30 starts and $1,157,916. The winner of the Grade 1 Sword Dancer Handicap in 2005, King's Drama made just three starts in 2006, a campaign highlighted by a victory in the Grade 2 San Luis Rey Handicap here last March.

* Earlier on the program, jockey Alex Solis ended an 0-for-15 slump with a well-timed ride aboard favored Valbenny in the $83,150 Blue Norther Stakes for 2-year-old fillies on turf.

The stakes was Solis's first win of the meeting, which began on Dec. 26.

Valbenny ($5.20) prevailed by a length over the European import Courtwood. Miss Josiey Wales finished third in the field of 10.

Solis had Valbenny on the rail on the first turn toward the back of the field, but brought her to the outside on the backstretch. She was fourth on the backstretch and took the lead in the final furlong, finishing a mile in 1:36.18.

Trained by Paddy Gallagher, Valbenny has won 3 of 5 starts and $120,043. A maiden winner in Scotland in July, Valbenny won the Grade 3 Miesque Stakes in November in her U.S. debut.