01/28/2006 12:00AM

Miesque's Approval pulls upset at 48-1

Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO
Miesque's Approval with Eddie Castro riding defeated Silver Tree and Jockey Jerry Bailey in Bailey's final ride of his career in the Sunshine Millions Turf at Gulfstream Park.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - There would be no storybook ending to jockey Jerry Bailey's career, but he went out a champion nonetheless, even after his final mount, Silver Tree, fell three-quarters of a length shy of catching 48-1 Miesque's Approval in Saturday's $500,000 at Gulfstream Park.

Miesque's Approval and jockey Eddie Castro got first run over Bailey and the 4-5 Silver Tree after circling four wide into the stretch of the 1 1/8-mile Turf. Bailey had to steady briefly and await racing room along the rail near the quarter pole, then urge Silver Tree through a narrow opening to go after Miesque's Approval in the final furlong only to come up short with their bid.

Miesque's Approval, a 7-year-old son of Miesque's Son, had been trained by Bill Mott throughout his career before being turned over to trainer Marty Wolfson in November. Bailey, whose long and successful association with Mott ended appropriately with the pair teaming up one last time Saturday with Silver Tree, had ridden Miesque's Approval to five of his previous seven victories, including two stakes wins.

Miesque's Approval paid $99.60 after covering the distance in 1:44.81 over a firm course.

Bailey was kicked in the right hip by Silver Tree in the paddock before his final ride.

"Right now I'm hurting," Bailey said while making his way to the winner's circle to salute the crowd one last time. "I guess you can say I went out with a bang. Obviously I would have liked to have won with my last mount, but unfortunately the opening came a little too late."

Bailey thanked the crowd for "having me in your life," then added, "I hope you bet more to place than to win."

Bailey ended his career with 5,892 victories. He is second on the all-time money won list behind only Pat Day with more than $295 million in purse earnings.

"I guess it wasn't a fairy tale ending, but it was close," Mott said after the race.

Wolfson, who trains Miesque's Approval for Charlotte Weber's Live Oak Plantation, said, "I'll miss Jerry riding, but I'm really glad to have won this race."

Miesque's Approval had finished fourth in Calder's My Dear Peg Stakes in his only previous start for Wolfson.

"He had a little colic about 10 days before the race at Calder and wasn't 100 percent going in," said Wolfson. "He ran well but ran like a horse who needed a race that day. He's totally turned around since then, and I think Eddie and I were the only two who thought this horse could win today."