05/19/2007 12:00AM

Remarkable News gets trip in Dixie



BALTIMORE, Md. - A bad post draw and an iffy weather forecast had trainer Angel Penna Jr. seriously contemplating not shipping Remarkable News down to Pimlico from New York for Saturday's $250,000 Dixie Handicap.

But the way the horse was acting - and his belief that it wouldn't rain - prompted Penna to come. And is he ever glad he did.

Receiving a perfect ride from Ramon Dominguez and benefiting from the unfortunate breakdown of pace-setting Mending Fences, Remarkable News recorded a three-quarter-length victory over Cosmonaut in the Grade 2 Dixie. Outperformance finished third.

The race was marred by the fatal breakdown of Mending Fences, who broke his right front leg nearing the far turn. Einstein, the second choice, fell over that rival, unseating jockey Robby Albarado. Neither Eddie Castro, the rider of Mending Fences, nor Albarado was injured. Mending Fences had to be euthanized.

Dominguez, who did a terrific job maneuvering Remarkable News from the outside post in the 11-horse field to the two-path entering the first turn, had moved his horse to within a length of Mending Fences at the time of the breakdown. While Remarkable News was able to avoid him, Cosmonaut jumped over the fallen horse.

"I was lucky to barely be out of his path," Dominguez said. "I couldn't really avoid him even if I wanted to because I was that close. I just happened to be very close to him, but he didn't interfere with me as I was going by. It's an unfortunate event; I hate to see that happen."

Remarkable News inherited a huge advantage around the turn and was able to hold off Cosmonaut, the 2-1 favorite, who rallied gamely after having to hurdle Mending Fences. Remarkable News, a 5-year-old Venezuelan bred son of Chayim, covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:46.36, just missing the course record of 1:46.34 set by Mr. O'Brien in this race in 2004. Remarkable News paid $13.80 to win.

"With all the grass horses I've had in my life I read the Weather Channel pretty good," said Penna, who was fortunate that the rain held off till right after the race. "I decided it wasn't going to rain. I took a shot because the horse was doing really, really good."

Remarkable News has learned, Penna said, to "settle a little better, and that's why I took the shot to stretch him out a mile and an eighth."