08/16/2009 12:00AM

Meteore finishes fast to capture La Jolla

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DEL MAR, Calif. - Meteore, who was such a disappointment when fifth as the favorite in the Oceanside Stakes on July 22, redeemed himself with a last-to-first move to win Saturday's $150,000 La Jolla Handicap at Del Mar.

Ridden by Alex Solis, Meteore ($14) ran 1 1/16 miles on turf in 1:40.82, finishing 1 1/2 lengths in front of Rendezvous. Gretsky, who raced in traffic on the final turn, rallied to finish third in the field of nine 3-year-olds.

Solis avoided most of that trouble by following specific prerace instructions issued by trainer Richard Mandella.

"The only difference is Richard asked me to take him back and save some ground," Solis said. "I was happy with the first part when four or five horses were going head and head."

Actually, there were three battling for the lead on the backstretch.

New Bay, trained by Mandella, set early fractions of 23.05 and 46.92 seconds after veering out sharply and causing trouble in the first quarter-mile. New Bay was challenged on the backstretch by I'll Show Them, the 5-2 favorite, and Herr Mozart, whose riders made premature moves. The three of them reached six furlongs in 1:10.03 but were out of contention entering the stretch.

Rendezvous, third in the Oceanside, led in the stretch, but could not hold off Meteore.

Owned by the Wertheimer family, Meteore has won 3 of 9 starts and $163,916. He beat maidens in his sixth career start in April and won an optional claimer in June before losing the Oceanside.

Mandella said Meteore, who is by Pulpit, emerged from that race with a bruised foot.