04/13/2007 11:00PM

Laurel Park: High Moment wires

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High Moment didn't appear on paper to have the best early speed in the $100,000 Dahlia for fillies and mares at Laurel Park.

But the Rodney Jerkins-trained 4-year-old had once before in her five-race career grabbed an early lead, and wired a field of maidens at 1-2, and in the Dahlia she pulled off the same trick, at 17-1.

Ridden by Erick Rodriguez, High Moment popped out of the gate on the lead in the one-mile turf race, cut quick but unpressured fractions of 23.33 seconds for the quarter-mile, 46.80 for the half, and 1:11.30 for six furlongs, and found herself in front by 5 1/2 lengths in the stretch.

Grigorieva, the 4-5 favorite making her U.S. debut, walked out of the gate under Mario Pino and lagged last of nine about 15 lengths behind the leader going up the backstretch. Grigorieva moved from ninth to seventh to third on the turn for home, and and then second in the stretch, and was the only rival with a shot late at High Moment, but her rally fell short by three-quarters of a length.

"The break cost us," Pino said. "And that happens sometimes with European horses who are not used to the gate.

If there was a clue on High Moment's intent it came in her bullet 59.60-second five furlong work on Laurel's main track April 7.

"The last work we had with her showed me maybe she was good enough to do this this race," Jenkins said.

High Moment ($36.60) was timed in 1:36.14. Redaspen finished third, another three lengths back.

A lightly raced daughter of High Yield, High Moment improved her record to 3 wins and 2 seconds in 6 starts.

* Jockey Horacio Karamanos rode his 1,000th winner, aboard Royalties in race 7.