08/25/2007 12:00AM

La Traviata wires in Victory Ride


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Trainer Patrick Biancone said before Saturday's $100,000 Victory Ride Stakes that the way La Traviata breaks, the field would never see her again. Well La Traviata didn't break well - she stumbled leaving the starting gate for the six furlong Victory Ride - but Biancone's prediction still prove correct after his undefeated 3-year-old filly quickly recovered and ran away from her field en route to an easy 9 1/4-length victory over the 54-1 Half Time Crown.

With jockey Julien Leparoux riding with supreme confidence, La Traviata set fractions of 22.13 seconds and 45.20 seconds while holding a short advantage over Appealing Zophie, who eventually steadied back, unable to keep up with the leader into the far turn. Once settling into the stretch, La Traviata readily widened her advantage, with the only pressure she felt from Leparoux a congratulatory pat on the neck as she neared the finish line.

Half Time Crown saved ground around the turn, eased out, and readily outfinished the tiring Appealing Zophie for second.

La Traviata covered six furlongs in 1:09.78 despite just loping to the wire and paid $3.70 as the heavy favorite in a scratch-reduced field of 10 3-year-old fillies. She also completed an all stakes pick four that returned $83.50 for a $2 wager.

"She's just unbelievable," said Biancone, who trains La Traviata for owners Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, and Mrs. John Magnier. "She's relaxing now better than in her first race. She's just a natural. She had a hairline fracture of the left tibia at 2, so the plan was to go easy with her this year and make only three or four starts, and right now we're right on schedule. Her next start will come in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint."