07/03/2005 12:00AM

Mr. Light rallies to take Poker


ELMONT, N.Y. - Angel Penna didn't like the weight assigned his horse, Mr. Light, for Sunday's , but the trainer had to love everything else regarding the Grade 3 race.

Taking advantage of a fast pace and a firm turf course, Mr. Light rallied down the center of Belmont Park's Widener Turf Course to win the $111,800 Poker by a neck over the late-running Willard Straight. It was 1 1/4 lengths back to Remind in third.

A few days before the race, Penna thought about passing the Poker because he didn't like the fact Mr. Light was assigned 117 pounds, picking up three pounds from his last handicap race. But Penna decided to run and was glad he did.

L'Oiseau D'Argent ran an opening half-mile in 44.91 seconds, while being chased by Seeking the Glory and Gulch Approval. Jockey Cornelio Velasquez had Mr. Light about nine lengths off that early pace.

In upper stretch, Velasquez swung Mr. Light into the clear, and he stormed home while holding Willard Straight at bay at the wire. Mr. Light, a 6-year-old Argentine-bred son of Numerous owned by Earle Mack, covered the mile in 1:32.18 and returned $7.30 to win as the favorite.

Penna indicated he would point Mr. Light to the $150,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap at Saratoga on Aug. 1.

Adieu holds off Folklore

While trainer Todd Pletcher came up a neck shy of winning the Poker, his 2-year-old filly Adieu prevailed in a race-long battle with Folklore to win the $109,500 Astoria Stakes by 1 1/4 lengths. Folklore finished second, 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Wonder Lady Anne L.

Adieu, a daughter of El Corredor, was making her first start since winning her maiden at Keeneland on April 22. In the Astoria, she hooked up with Folklore soon after the start and though she yielded the lead to that rival around the turn, Adieu battled back and edged away despite racing on the wrong lead most of the stretch.

Adieu, owned by Michael Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier and Derrick Smith, covered 5 1-2 furlongs under Rafael Bejarano in 1:04.02 and returned $5 as the favorite.