02/03/2007 12:00AM

Ravel outfinishes Liquidity in Sham

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ARCADIA, Calif. - Ravel won his stakes debut in the $101,500 Sham Stakes with a performance that will rank him ranked among the top contenders for the Triple Crown.

Ridden by Garrett Gomez, Ravel was rated in fourth behind the pacesetters to the turn and rallied three wide to challenge Liquidity in early stretch. The two drew off in the final furlong, with Ravel winning by a length.

Liquidity, who disputed the pace, finished three lengths clear of Song of Navarone, the early pacesetter and the longest shot in the field of seven 3-year-olds.

Ravel ($7.20) ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.91.

Owned by Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith and trained by Michael McCarthy, Ravel has won 2 of 3 starts and $96,100.

Sweet Return holds on in Thunder Road

Sweet Return, the winner of the Grade 1 Frank Kilroe Mile in 2004, is bound for the same race on March 3 after a front-running win in the $80,050 Thunder Road Handicap over a mile on turf.

Ridden by Alex Solis, Sweet Return was fully extended to hold off a late run from Bayeux. Boule d'Or finished third in the field of eight. Charmo, the even-money favorite, was second on the turn, but faded to finish last.

Sweet Return, who is owned by Red Oak Stable and trained by Ron McAnally, ran a mile on turf in 1:35.47. The victory ended a nine-race losing streak dating back to the Grade 1 Eddie Read Handicap at Del Mar in 2005.