03/05/2005 12:00AM

Mr. Sulu rallies, then hangs on


Mr. Sulu reaffirmed his dominance over Louisiana-breds on Saturday, holding off a late charge from Bebe Garcon to win by a neck in the $75,000 Dixie Poker Ace Handicap at Fair Grounds.

Robby Albarado bided his time early in the 7 1/2-furlong turf race, sitting in next-to-last place aboard Mr. Sulu as Lonnie Meche rated Lac Laronge on the front end through fractions of 25.80 seconds for the quarter-mile and 49.29 for the half-mile. Approaching the far turn, Albarado moved closer to the pace along the rail, but had to steady briefly when Two Ducks In a Row stopped in front of him.

Turning for home, Mr. Sulu was stuck behind a wall of tiring horses and had to switch paths to get through, but he finally hit the front, while Bebe Garcon was coming strongly on the extreme outside under Elvis Perrodin. Inside the sixteenth pole, it looked like Bebe Garcon was going by, but Mr. Sulu dug in and would not let him pass, finishing the 7 1/2 furlongs in 1:33.61. It was another two lengths back to Spritely Walker, who finished three lengths ahead of Lac Laronge.

The victory was Albarado's 13th stakes win of the meet, tying his own record for most stakes victories.

Mr. Sulu paid $4.80 to win.