05/09/2005 12:00AM

Mountaineer: Near record for 'Bernie'

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Tampa Bay shipper Bernie Blue ($6.80) came close to the Mountaineer track record for five furlongs when he ran down 4-5 favorite Danieltown in the closing yards of the $75,000 Panhandle Handicap.

A 3-year-old gelding trained by Miguel Feliciano, Bernie Blue covered the distance on the main track in 56.11 seconds, just .19 of a second slower than Mayor Steve's track-record time of 55.92 in August 2003.

Bernie Blue, who has now won 5 of 6 starts lifetime, outkicked Danieltown to prevail by a half-length. He earned a career-best 102 Beyer Speed Figure, 24 points higher than his previous high in the Sophomore Stakes at Tampa Bay.

Graded stakes winner Shake You Down, who figured to vie for favoritism with Danieltown, was scratched.