12/08/2003 1:00AM

Laurel: Cruise Along wins turf-to-dirt

Jim McCue
Cruise Along ralles to win the $100,000 Gesiah Handicap at Laurel Park on Sunday.

Cruise Along rallied from midpack to run down odds-on favorite Shiny Sheet and second-choice Undercover coming into the stretch and won the $100,000 Gesiah Handicap for Maryland-bred fillies and mares by a widening 4 1/2 lengths.

Trained by Murray Lawrence and ridden by Abel Castellano Jr., Cruise Along ran the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.98 on a fast track and paid $17.20. Shiny Sheet held second, four lengths in front of Undercover in third.

Postponed because of bad weather both on Nov. 29 and again on Saturday, the Geisha was finally run Sunday with a field of nine.

Cruise Along came into race off 18 consecutive starts on the grass and had not raced on dirt since May 1, 2001. Three of her previous four starts were in open Grade 3 company, but each was a never-in-contention, off-the-board effort.