10/05/2007 12:00AM

Maiden takes Alcibiades - again

EmailLEXINGTON, Ky. - Apparently there's something about the Darley Alcibiades Stakes and Polytrack and maidens.

On the day that Keeneland first unveiled its Polytrack surface last fall, a filly named Bel Air Beauty posted her first career victory in the Alcibiades. And when the 2007 fall meet began Friday amid unseasonably hot weather, another filly lacking a previous victory won the Grade 1 race.

Country Star, a Stonerside Stable homebred trained by Bobby Frankel and ridden by Rafael Bejarano, passed most of the field in the last quarter-mile in capturing the $500,000 Alcibiades by a length over A to the Croft. Grace Anatomy, who took command entering the stretch, finished third, another neck back, while Irish Smoke, the 6-5 favorite, finished last in a field of 10 2-year-old fillies.

Country Star ($10.40), by Empire Maker, finished 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.85. In her only previous race, she finished second in a Belmont Park turf route for maidens.

Before a crowd of 14,004 sweltering in temperatures in the low 90s, Dreaming of Liz set the pace on a surface that, as had been the case during the first two Polytrack meets here, mostly favored stretch-runners. Grace Anatomy, who broke last before circling the field to enter contention on the backstretch, finally got past Dreaming of Liz and Morakami to make the lead turning for home, but A to the Croft, and finally Country Star, surged past in the final half-furlong. Country Star went widest of all to prevail.

"She felt really relaxed," said Bejarano. "l was looking for a spot, but the other horses were too close together. Coming out of the turn, she just exploded. I knew the horse could do that because I worked her" at Belmont.

John Adger, racing manager for Stonerside, said Frankel "and his crew did an unbelievable job with the filly." Country Star most likely will be pointed to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies on Oct. 27 at Monmouth Park, said Adger.

Country Store is out of Rings a Chime, who won another of the top races at Keeneland, the Grade 1 Ashland, in 2000.

Kent Desormeaux was aboard A to the Croft, who now has been second in three straight graded stakes: the Grade 2 Adirondack, Gradeo1 Spinaway, and the Alcibiades.

"She's a multi-talented filly, and I'm very happy with her," said Desormeaux.

Irish Smoke, who entered the Alcibiades with two wins from as many starts, including the Spinaway at Saratoga, had no apparent mishap. Ridden by Julien Leparoux, she stalked the pace before beating a steady fade, finishing 12 1/2 lengths behind the winner.

Last year, Bel Air Beauty won the Alcibiades at 47-1. She also was coming off a defeat in her only previous start.

Transduction Gold upsets Sycamore

One race earlier, longshots dominated the $137,500 Sycamore BC Stakes when Transduction Gold, ridden by James Graham, caught Bee Charmer in the final jumps. Both horses were 15-1.

Transduction Gold, a 4-year-old gelding bred and owned by trainer John Glenney, returned $33.80 after finishing 1 1/2 miles in 2:31.96 over a firm turf. The 4-year-old Transduction Gold is by Formal Gold and a half-brother to Kim Loves Bucky, a former Keeneland fan favorite who won the Elkhorn Stakes, a turf marathon run each spring, in 2002 and 2003.

Dreadnaught finished third at 8-1, while Big Prairie, the favorite at 8-5, was never a threat when finishing sixth in a field of 10 older horses.

The first race of the meet was won by Route, a 2-year-old Dynaformer colt bred and owned by Claiborne Farm, the all-time leading stakes owner at Keeneland. Leparoux was aboard for trainer Bill Mott.

Later in the day, the sixth race was marred by a spill near the eighth pole when Primetime Lassie, ridden by Florent Geroux, clipped the heels of Syriana's Song and fell. Misty Ocean was unable to avoid the fallen horse and fell over her, throwing jockey Larry Sterling Jr.

Geroux, 21, was taken to nearby St. Joseph's Medical Center after complaining of pain in his right wrist and back. Sterling was not seriously injured.

Lo Duca settles for watching his horse

Among those in attendance for the Friday opener was Paul Lo Duca, the catcher for the New York Mets. Lo Duca, a co-owner of Alcibiades third-place finisher Grace Anatomy, said he "really would have been playing baseball," but a historic late-season collapse by the Mets left them out of the National League playoffs.

"This is great and all, but honestly I'd rather be on the field," he said, while watching trainer Doug O'Neill saddle Grace Anatomy in the paddock.

BC Juvenile prospects in Bourbon

Besides the Spinster Stakes, a 10-race Sunday card also includes the $150,000 Bourbon Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for 2-year-olds. Some promising colts are in the field, and it would be little surprise if the winner wound up in the inaugural Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf on Oct.o26.

Nownownow, winner of a restricted Saratoga stakes as a maiden, could rule as a slight favorite over a pair of New York maiden winners, Gio Ponti and Adriano. A field of eight is entered in the Bourbon, which is carded as race 7.

* Keeneland announced Friday that it will begin offering a 50-cent trifecta on its races, effective Wednesday, the fourth day of the 17-day meet. Keeneland already offers a 50-cent pick four and was among the first tracks ever to offer a 10-cent superfecta. "These wagers are fun to play, and the price makes them affordable to everyone," said track president Nick Nicholson.