10/10/2003 11:00PM

Photo finish goes to Film Maker

Film Maker (9), under Edgar Prado, runs down pacesetting Maiden Tower to win the Queen Elizabeth II.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Film Maker was up in the final stride to hang a narrow defeat on front-running Maiden Tower in a thrilling 20th running of the $500,000 at Keeneland on Saturday.

Film Maker, ridden by Edgar Prado, returned $25.20 to win as eighth choice in a field of 10 3-year-old fillies. The stewards called an inquiry into the stretch duel between the top two finishers but allowed the original results to stand.

"There was a little contact, but the other horse, I thought, made the initial contact," said Prado. "The stewards made the right decision."

Before a meet-high crowd of 24,823, and amid unseasonably warm weather, Maiden Tower, making her U.S. debut for Darley Stable, inherited the lead after the expected front-runner, Sand Springs, went to her knees at the start. After David Flores guided Maiden Tower, the 4-1 second choice, through relatively easy fractions, it appeared she might have held off Film Maker at the wire, but the photo-finish camera said otherwise when giving Film Maker the slightest of nods.

Casual Look, the Epsom Oaks winner, finished third and Ocean Drive was fourth. Indy Five Hundred, the 2-1 favorite, was never a major factor and finished last.

Film Maker finished 1 1/8 miles over firm turf in 1:47.82, a little more than two seconds off the stakes mark set in 1996 by Memories of Silver.

The QEII victory concluded a remarkable year at Keeneland for Prado, who swept all three Grade 1 races at the fall meet. Besides the QEII, Prado also won the Spinster on Take Charge Lady and the Shadwell Mile on Perfect Soul. In the spring, Prado also won three other graded races, including the Grade 1 Blue Grass aboard Peace Rules.

Film Maker, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Dynaformer, is owned by the Courtlandt Farm of Donald Adam. She has never been worse than third in nine career starts, and has won four races and $459,860.

Trainer Graham Motion said he and Adam had not discussed a next possible start for Film Maker. "This is the race we were pointing for," said Motion.

* Earlier Saturday, Joe Johnson suffered a possible collarbone fracture and Dean Butler a possible hand fracture in a two-horse spill in the sixth race. Butler's mount, Al Sami, had to be euthanized.