10/02/2007 12:00AM

Mach Ride pointed for BC Sprint

EmailMIAMI - You can bet trainer Steve Standridge is glad the 2007 Breeders' Cup is being run at Monmouth Park and not across the river in New York.

The Standridge-trained Mach Ride likely earned himself a trip to the BC Sprint with his fourth-place finish in Saturday's Grade 1 Vosburgh Handicap at Belmont Park. Mach Ride was beaten just a neck and a nose for second by Talent Search and Discreet Cat despite a slow start that forced the Calder-based 4-year-old to rally wide and from last place in the six-furlong Vosburgh.

For Standridge, the race evoked memories of Mach Ride's previous trip to New York 13 months earlier, when another poor start and eventful run from the rear of the pack resulted in a fourth-place finish behind Henny Hughes in the 2006 King's Bishop at Saratoga.

"He should have been second in two Grade 1s in New York instead of fourth both times because of what happened at the break," Standridge said. "To say both races were frustrating from my standpoint would be an understatement."

Mach Ride became a serious Sprint contender after upsetting both Fabulous Strike and Smokey Stover in the Grade 2 Smile Sprint Handicap at Calder in July.

"Since we've put blinkers on him this summer he's done all his racing on or with the lead," said Standridge. "He doesn't like having to race from far back like he did in the Vosburgh. But he's doing so good right now he ran well anyway."

Standridge said he will send Mach Ride back to the track in a few days, monitor his condition, and if all goes well point him for the Sprint.

"Right now the Breeders' Cup is the plan," said Standridge who trains the homebred Mach Ride for the Rustlewood Farm Inc. "I've left him at Belmont, and he'll do most of his training for the Sprint there. I haven't decided whether he'll close out at Belmont or move over to Monmouth to have his final work."

Trujillo extends lead

Elvis Trujillo, who was in New York on Sunday to ride Mach Ride, picked right up where he left off upon returning to Calder by posting three more winners on Monday. He extended his already-comfortable advantage in the standings over defending champ Manoel Cruz. Da Jewel (1st race), Saviano (5th), and Suggestion Lisa (8th) provided Trujillo with the hat trick and swelled his win total to 149 for the meet entering Thursday's program.

Eibar Coa, the leading rider at Belmont Park, made a cameo appearance here Monday, riding in each of the first two races on the soggy card for trainer Bill White. Coa, a seven-time Calder and Tropical at Calder jockey champion, was in town to visit family during the two dark days in New York.

The name's familiar

Grasshopper had the day's fastest work for a half-mile on Monday's tab, covering the distance in a blistering 46.92 seconds in the rain over a sloppy track. It was not, though, the Grasshopper who extended Street Sense before finishing a game second in the Travers or was recently upset as the odds-on favorite in the Super Derby, but the one bred in Barbados and stabled in south Florida with trainer Jose Pinchin.

The local Grasshopper, like his more illustrious namesake, is a 3-year-old. A son of an Irish-bred stallion, Sea Raven, he has been off the board in all three career starts, most recently finishing seventh when he tried grass for the first time on Sept. 8. All three of those starts came against maiden special weight opposition.

Breakthrough race

Apprentice Maynor Lopez won the first race of his riding career on Saturday, guiding Little Hummingbird to an unexpected victory against bottom-priced maiden claimers. Little Hummingbird had been beaten an average of more than 21 lengths in his four previous starts, never earning a Beyer Speed Figure higher than 8.

Little Hummingbird, who also gave trainer Marcus Strickland his first victory from 34 starters in 2007, paid $180.20.