08/13/2004 11:00PM

Molto Vita upsets Tina Bull


Molto Vita always had talent. Now she is displaying heart and consistency to go with it.

She scored her second consecutive victory Saturday, taking the $100,000 Ellis Park Breeders' Cup by a neck over 4-5 favorite Tina Bull. The win followed a neck victory over graded stakes winner My Boston Gal in an overnight handicap at Ellis Park July 23.

As in that score, Molto Vita was involved in the pace from the start on Saturday. Jockey Larry Melancon, experiencing a banner Ellis Park meet in which he has won with approximately 30 percent of his mounts, sent her immediately to the front.

There she was hounded by Star of Atticus, who forced her to set quick fractions of 21.73 seconds and 45.16 in the 6 1/2-furlong race. Leaving the turn, closers such as Tina Bull began to quickly advance, but Molto Vita had just enough left in the stretch to prevail. She ran the distance in 1:17.18 over a fast track, paying $31.80.

Tina Bull, with Shane Sellers riding, gradually cut into the winner's lead through the stretch but fell just short. Smoke Chaser was 2 1/2 lengths back in third.

Molto Vita, a 4-year-old Carson City filly trained by Dallas Stewart and owned by John Gunther, improved her record to 6-2-0 in 16 starts. The $62,220 winner's share pushed her earnings to $237,410.