06/13/2009 11:00PM

Sailor's Cap upsets Poker


Trainer Jimmy Toner had two theories entering Sunday's at Belmont Park. First, he thought his horse, Sailor's Cap, would love the mile distance. Second, he thought if Kip Deville was ever going to be vulnerable, Sunday would be the day.

Both of Toner's theories proved correct as Sailor's Cap blew past the 3-5 favorite, Kip Deville, in upper stretch and cruised to a 1 1/4-length victory in the $103,500 Poker at Belmont. Kip Deville, in his first start since a 10th-place finish in the Dubai Duty Free in Dubai on March 28, faded to fourth in the five-horse field.

Sailor's Cap, who won the Colonial Turf Cup last summer at 1 3/16 miles, was making his first start since finishing last in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby last November. Toner had thought about trying to make the 10-furlong Manhattan on June 6, but could not find a prep for it. However, he always thought his horse would be a top-class miler or mile-and-an-eighth horse, so he pointed for the shorter Poker.

Alan Garcia had Sailor's Cap in fourth position early while Kip Deville had to work hard to wrest a one-length lead from Tam Lin after an opening quarter in 23.09 seconds. Tam Lin settled back and Yield Bogey took up the chase of Kip Deville, who ran a half-mile in 47.17 under Cornelio Velasquez.

Though Kip Deville, under Cornelio Velasquez, turned for home with almost a two-length lead, Sailor's Cap soon pounced and easily shot to the lead outside the eighth pole. Tam Lin rallied along the rail, but was no match for Sailor's Cap, who covered the mile in 1:36.50 over soft turf and returned $13.40 as the third choice. Tam Lin finished 2 1/2 lengths ahead of Yield Bogey, who was three-quarters of a length in front of Kip Deville. Operation Red Dawn was last.

"Actually, I thought he dropped back a little bit further than I thought he would," Toner said. "We were going to try and sit in the pocket, but [Kip Deville] looked like he was a little rank today, so it worked out perfect. He made just a tremendous move the last part of it."

Toner said he would look at the Fourstardave at Saratoga on Aug. 2, but, noting Sailor's Cap's proficiency over soft ground, Toner added, "we'll probably watch the Weather Channel first and see where it rains, and that's where we'll go."

Matchless Orinda wires What a Summer

Kip Deville wasn't the only odds-on horse that failed to fire for Dutrow on Sunday. In the $62,950 What a Summer Stakes, By the Light, a 1-2 favorite, finished last of four while Matchless Orinda went gate to wire under Velasquez for a 2 1/4 length victory over Rising Fever. Matchless Orinda, owned by Peachtree Stable and trained by Allen Jerkens, ran six furlongs in 1:08.73 and returned $9.70 as the third choice.