09/04/2004 12:00AM

May Gator gets job done


For much of her career, May Gator had a history of being outfinished. Saturday in the $75,000 Dade Turf Classic at Ellis Park, it was May Gator that outfinished her opponents.

Overcoming a slow early pace, she rallied from fourth to catch the front-running Wildwood Royal. She won by 1 1/4 lengths, running 1 1/16 miles over a firm turf course in 1:39.98.

May Gator proved a comfortable winner under jockey Jesus Castanon, but she appeared to be in trouble early. The scratches of Babeth, Tempus Fugit, and Small Promises took much of the speed out of the race, and Wildwood Royal took advantage and seemed gone on the lead. She spurted clear, setting slow fractions of 24.30 seconds and 48.

As the field hit the final turn, the tempo of the race began to quicken. Playa Maya on the inside challenged Wildwood Royal, and the six-furlong fraction went in 1:11.72.

Wildwood Royal had enough left to turn back Playa Maya, the third-place finisher, but she could not contain the wide rally of May Gator. Favored Babeth never mounted a significant rally and finished fifth.

A 5-year-old daughter of Green Alligator, May Gator won for the third time in nine starts this year, paying $10.80. She improved her record to 9-13-5 in 38 starts for trainer Steve Flint and owners Elaine, Richard and Bertram Klein. Her earnings now exceed $425,000.