08/31/2008 11:00PM

Night Action romps in Cradle


CINCINNATI - Perhaps the biggest scare for Night Action came after the Cradle Stakes as the colt was being led into the winner's circle. Some 50 people, mostly members in the two syndicates that own Night Action, let out a loud scream, spooking him a bit.

Otherwise, everything went perfectly Monday for Night Action in the $200,000 Cradle, the annual showcase and meet-ending feature at River Downs. Going straight to the lead under Victor Lebron, Night Action dominated thereafter, prevailing by four lengths in a field of eight 2-year-olds.

"Nobody wanted the lead, so Victor went ahead and took it," said trainer Mike Maker, who co-owns the colt with the Sand Dollar Stable and Skychai Racing LLC. "It all worked out from there."

Night Action, a Kentucky-bred by Action This Day, returned $16.40 as fourth choice. He finished 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.40 over firm turf.

Bourbon Bay, at 38-1 the longest shot in the field, rallied from last to get second by three-quarters of a length over Appalachian Trail. Chilliness, the 2-1 second choice, finished fifth, while Fitzaslew, the 8-5 favorite, was sixth.

Night Action was purchased for $50,000 at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. auction in March.

"He was on Mike's shortlist," said Harvey Diamond, a principal in Sand Dollar. "Mike has really liked him from the start."

The triumph was the second in four career starts for Night Action, whose previous race resulted in a third-place finish in the Cradle prep over the River turf on Aug. 9.

"I was really perplexed by that race, but he showed today he's a lot better than that," said Maker.

For Lebron, a 24-year-old native of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Cradle victory sustained a torrid recent streak. Lebron was easily the leading jockey at the 39-day meet that ended Monday at Ellis Park, where on Aug. 16 he swept all three stakes on the richest card of the meet, including the Grade 3 Gardenia Handicap.