06/30/2007 12:00AM

Remarkable News controls Firecracker


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Remarkable News further entrenched himself as one of North America's premier turf milers when he posted a thoroughly dominant wire-to-wire victory Saturday under Ramon Dominguez in the 18th running of the Grade 2 Firecracker Handicap at Churchill Downs.

Always in control after breaking sharply from the inside post, Remarkable News returned $5.40 as the favorite and 122-pound highweight in a field of eight older turf runners. Owned by Holly Rincon and based in New York with veteran trainer Angel Penna Jr., Remarkable News finished a mile in 1:34.74 over firm turf.

Brilliant, the 2-1 second choice under Robby Albarado and 121 pounds, raced in mid-pack for much of the trip before finding a seam along the hedge during the stretch run. He quickly passed every horse ahead of him except Remarkable News, who already was long gone en route to a 2 3/4-length triumph.

Outperformance finished third, another 4 1/2 lengths behind Brilliant and another half-length before Crested. Then came Obi Wan Kenobi, Vega's Lord, Tiganello, and Free Thinking. Hold the Salt, the longest shot on the morning line, was an early scratch.

Remarkable News, a 5-year-old Venezuelan-bred, now has won 9 of 15 career starts and earned $122,387 from the $232,000 total purse. He was coming off a victory in the Grade 2 Dixie Stakes on the May 19 Preakness undercard at Pimlico. A chestnut, Remarkable News is not a Breeders' Cup nominee and therefore was not eligible for additional Breeders' Cup funds being offered in the Firecracker.

Last fall, Rincon and Penna elected not to supplement Remarkable News to the BC Mile at Churchill Downs, but they have not yet declared what they will do this year when the BC Mile is run just south of New York at Monmouth Park in New Jersey. Coming into the Firecracker, Remarkable News had earned a triple-digit Beyer Speed Figure in his previous nine races.

* High Heels, third in the Kentucky Oaks before finishing seventh in her turf debut, the June 16 Regret, breezed seven furlongs Saturday in 1:27.40 over the Churchill main track in preparation for the $500,000 Delaware Oaks on July 14.