05/18/2006 11:00PM

Regal Engagement wins Black-Eyed Susan on DQ


BALTIMORE - Regal Engagement could not get past Smart N Pretty in the stretch run of the Grade 2, $250,000 on Friday at Pimlico Race Course, but she did in the stewards' stand.

After a 10-minute review of the tapes, Pimlico's stewards ruled that Smart N Pretty had interfered with Regal Engagement in the final sixteenth, and they reversed the order of finish. The result was met with predictable, but perhaps not inappropriate, reactions from those involved.

"I feel good about it," said Tom Bush, who trains Regal Engagement. "I'm sorry for the people who got taken down, but that's horse racing."

Jockey Ramon Dominguez, who rode Regal Engagement, said he thought Smart N Pretty had come out. But Norberto Arroyo Jr., who rode Smart N Pretty, maintained that Dominguez and Regal Engagement initiated the contact.

"She bumped my hind end and turned me sideways," Arroyo said.

And Dale Romans, who trains Smart N Pretty, said he thought the result "could have gone either way."

Smart N Pretty led every step in the 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-old fillies and completed the distance in 1:50.11 on the fast main track.

Regal Engagement ($12.40), who broke poorly, loomed a threat while three paths wide at the top of the stretch. She made a bid at midstretch to catch Smart N Pretty, but never could get past, and then Dominguez checked sharply with 100 yards to go when there was contact between the two fillies. Smart N Pretty finished 3 1/2 lengths in front, with Regal Engagement two lengths in front of third-place Baghdaria.

Regal Engagement, a Cat Thief filly owned by Mark Spitzer, won for the third time in seven starts. She won the Busher at Aqueduct in February, then was second in the Comely at Aqueduct five weeks ago.

She's an Eleven, the even-money favorite, was never a threat in her first start outside California. She wound up fifth in the field of seven.

DuPont: Pool Land wins under Gomez

Garrett Gomez was a 16-year-old apprentice when he rode for several months on the Maryland circuit in 1988. The leading rider in North America this year in earnings, Gomez showed off most everything he has learned in the 18 years that have passed when he guided favored Pool Land to victory Friday in the Grade 3, $200,000 Allaire duPont Breeders' Cup Distaff Handicap at Pimlico.

Gomez coaxed Pool Land just off a solid pace set by Princess Pelona before really going to work on his filly, and she responded with a one-length victory over Josh's Madelyn in the du Pont.

"My job is to put them in a good place," said Gomez, now 34. "I did my part. The filly was there. She did everything absolutely perfect."

In the Gold finished third, another 3 1/4 lengths behind Josh's Madelyn in a field of nine. Then came Friel's for Real, Promenade Girl, Dance Fee, Princess Pelona, Silmaril, and Plata.

Pool Land, owned by the Melnyk Racing Stables, returned $5 after finishing 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.71 over a fast main track. The winning time was a stakes record, although the race distance was shortened from 1 1/8 miles three years ago.

The victory was the fifth in six career starts for Pool Land, a Kentucky-bred 4-year-old by Silver Deputy. In her previous start, Pool Land won the Doubledogdare Stakes at Keeneland by 12 lengths. The duPont, formerly known as the Pimlico Distaff, is her first graded triumph.

"I thought she would rate," said trainer Todd Pletcher. "She has done everything right her whole life. We thought she was capable of picking up a graded win, so today was good for everyone."

Josh's Madelyn, the 9-2 second choice, ended a $2 exacta worth $24.20.

- Marty McGee

Miss Preakness: Wildcat Bettie B draws clear

Trainer Larry Jones was confident the turn-back to six furlongs would help Wildcat Bettie B in the Grade 3, $125,000 Miss Preakness Stakes. Jones could not have been more correct, as Wildcat Bettie B, showing more speed than in her recent races, wrested command leaving the backstretch en route to a two-length triumph.

Ridden by Ramon Dominguez, Wildcat Bettie B returned $7.40 as second choice in a field of seven 3-year-old fillies. Press Camp, a northern California invader sent away the 7-2 third choice, finished second, another five lengths before G City Gal, the 6-5 favorite.

Wildcat Bettie B was entered off a third-place finish behind Diplomat Lady in the Grade 2 Beaumont Stakes at Keeneland, which was run at seven furlongs and 184 feet. She finished the Miss Preakness in 1:10.05 over fast going.

"Ramon rode a great race," said Jones. "She broke good, and he went ahead and sent her on her way. She's been keeping company with good horses."

The field was well-bunched down the backstretch when Dominguez urged his mount to the lead. The others were never able to catch up, with both Press Camp and sixth-place finisher Celestial Legend having the most traffic trouble.

Wildcat Bettie B now has won 4 of 7 starts. The Miss Preakness was her second stakes win, and first in a graded stakes.

- Marty McGee

The Very One: Gilded Gold all the way

Demonstrating she's as effective on the pace as off, Gilded Gold led every step of the way under Javier Castellano to win the $75,000 The Very One Stakes by 2 1/2 lengths over Bright Gold. It was a head back to Kiss Me Katie in third.

It was the third consecutive victory for Gilded Gold, a 5-year-old daughter of Gilded Time trained by Alan Goldberg. In the Giant's Causeway Stakes last month at Keeneland, Gilded Gold came from just off the pace when she beat Bright Gold by three-quarters of a length.

Part-owner Barry Weisbord said the change in tactics came about when Remarqable Tale, the main speed in the race, scratched. Under Javier Castellano, Gilded Gold set fractions of 22.23 seconds and 45.36, and covered the five furlongs over good turf in 57.37. Gilded Gold returned $4 as the even-money favorite in the 11-horse field.

"She's so fast out of the gate you don't have to ask her to do anything," said Weisbord, who owns Gilded Gold with noted chef Bobby Flay and Bob Masterson. "She'll get herself great position. The main thing is she's learned how to relax."

Weisbord said Gilded Gold may attempt to stretch out in the one-mile Just a Game Breeders' Cup Handicap at Belmont Park on June 10.

- David Grening