04/26/2008 12:00AM

Napravnik times Stay Close's arrival perfectly


After riding the first six races at Delaware Park, where she went winless, Anna Napravnik had to hustle to make it to Pimlico in time for Saturday's $50,000 Henry S. Clark Stakes.

Napravnik also had to hustle to move Stay Close from far back in the pack to barely reach the wire first.

The 6-year-old Stay Close ($5.20) ran down 15-1 longshot Forty Crowns by a neck in deep stretch to win the one-mile Clark for the second straight year.

"I wasn't sure he was going to get there," said trainer Michael Zwiesler, referring to Stay Close's late rally.

It was the second straight win this season and 10th overall in 27 starts for Stay Close, who covered the distance on a turf course rated firm in 1:35.82.

"He's a very easy horse to ride," said Napravnik, who had never been on Stay Close before Saturday's race. "There was plenty of speed, we got a pretty good trip, and he did everything I asked."

Forty Crowns, whose only previous victory on turf came in last fall's Maryland Million Turf, looked like a winner when he blew past pacesetter Starvinsky turning for home and opened up a 1 1/2-length lead, only to be caught just before the finish line. Dominguez