09/15/2007 12:00AM

Lucarno triumphs in St. Leger

EmailLucarno delivered the goods for George Strawbridge, giving the Pennsylvania-based owner his first taste of British classic glory, with a gutsy win in the $1 million St. Leger Stakes at Doncaster on Saturday.

Strawbridge, who bred the Dynaformer colt at his Augustin Stable, must thank rider Jimmy Fortune in large part for his triumph. The Englishman sat as chilly as chilly can be throughout much of the 1 3/4-mile, 132-yard race. Still seventh approaching the quarter pole, Lucarno was not asked by Fortune to give everything until the three-sixteenths pole. Lucarno hit the front a furlong out, defeating the gallant pacesetter Mahler by a length while clocking 3:02.97, the third-fastest St. Leger ever run at Doncaster.

Victory for the 7-2 John Gosden-trained Lucarno dispelled any doubts about his ability to stay the St. Leger distance and was extra sweet as it came at the expense of four stoutly bred Aidan O'Brien-trained challengers. In addition to Mahler, there was the 13-8 favorite Honolulu in third, Macarthur in sixth, and Acapulco in eighth.

When he won the 1 1/2-mile, Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes last time out, Lucarno defeated Macarthur, Acapulco, and Mahler as well as their stablemate Yellowstone.

Lucarno had given an indication of his class when he finished fourth in Authorized's Epsom Derby in just his fourth career start.

Gosden said Lucarno was through for the year, but would remain in training next season, when he should play a key role in Group 1 races between 12 and 14 furlongs.

O'Brien duo dominates at Curragh

Stymied at Doncaster, Aidan O'Brien produced a pair of aces at the Curragh as Yeats and Scorpion dominated the Group 1, $416,000 Irish St. Leger.

Scorpion and Jamie Heffernan set out to steal the race on the front end and were three lengths clear entering the three-furlong stretch. But Yeats had too much in the tank and caught his stablemate near the line despite lugging in repeatedly under Kieren Fallon. Absent since winning his second Ascot Gold Cup on June 21, Yeats was credited with a half-length victory as the 4-7 choice, getting the 1 3/4 miles on good to firm ground in 3:03.40. It was 4 1/2 lengths back to the third-place Mores Wells.

Yeats is now the 8-1 second favorite with Irish bookies for the Melbourne Cup on Nov. 6, when he could be joined by Scorpion, who is listed at 20-1 for the same race. O'Brien also is considering Friday's 2 1/4-mile, Group 2 Doncaster Cup winner, Septimus, for the big Australian race.

* Earlier at the Curragh, Benbaun won what might be a prep for the Breeders' Cup Sprint when he gave Moss Vale a three-quarter-length beating in the six-furlong Group 3 Renaissance Stakes. In winning at the Curragh for the sixth time, the Mark Wallace-trained Benbaun was timed in 1:09.97. The BC Sprint and the Hong Kong Sprint are both possibilities for Benbaun.