07/28/2007 12:00AM

My Typhoon earns Breeders' Cup slot

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - My Typhoon became the first horse to qualify for the 2007 Breeders' Cup, guaranteeing herself a spot in the Filly and Mare Turf with a courageous three-quarter-length victory over Argentina in Saturday's $520,000 Diana Handicap.

The Grade 1 Diana was the first race in Saratoga's Breeders' Cup Challenge Series with the winner of each of the four graded stakes on Saturday's card earning a guaranteed berth in the Breeders' Cup in October.

My Typhoon's victory also gave Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, who turned 54 Sunday, his third straight Diana victory. He won the previous two renewals with Angara (2006) and Sand Springs (2005).

My Typhoon, a daughter of Giant's Causeway owned by Charlotte Weber's Live Oak Plantation, benefited from a patient ride by jockey Eddie Castro. The 5-year-old rated off the early pace of Countess Scala, moved to command midway around the second turn, and held resolutely when challenged by Argentina in the final furlong to post her third straight win.

Argentina, a replacement for stablemate Karen's Caper, slipped along the rail to loom boldly inside My Typhoon at midstretch but could not get past the tenacious winner. Makderah, the 6-5 favorite in a field of eight fillies and mares, rallied belatedly to finish another half-length farther back in third.

My Typhoon covered the 1 1/8 miles over a firm course in 1:46.47 seconds and paid $8.10.

"If she wins a Grade 1 stakes chances are she'd have been able to get into the Breeders' Cup anyway, but this gives us a little insurance," said Mott. "She's in good form now and hopefully she'll be able to stay good until the Breeders' Cup."

Mott was quick to credit Castro, who has been aboard My Typhoon in each of her four starts this season.

"She was anxious as a 3-year-old but she's learned to relax as she's gotten older, and Eddie did a great job getting her to settle off the leader today," said Mott. "In the past she probably would have run herself out but today she had enough left when challenged to give another little spurt at the eighth pole."

Jockey Edgar Prado said Argentina, who finished third nearly a length in front of My Typhoon in the 2006 Diana, had no excuse.

"This was a good effort for her," said Prado. "The plan was to keep her inside as long as we could. Unfortunately the winner didn't stop."