06/21/2008 11:00PM

Sailor's Cap weathers storm in style


Heavy rains pelted Colonial Downs Saturday, but all trainer Jimmy Toner and his staff needed for protection was a Sailor's Cap.

Sailor's Cap relished the yielding turf - as he did at Keeneland two starts back - and powered home a dominant 6 3/4-length winner of the Grade 3, $600,000 Colonial Turf Cup at Colonial. Nistle's Crunch finished second by a length over Your Round. It was a head back to Court Vision in fourth.

The Colonial Cup was run in a driving rainstorm that actually began about an hour earlier. It rained so hard that the turf course went from firm to soft in a matter of two races and forced track officials to cancel the last race.

Toner, who watched the race from Belmont Park, said he was happy when it started raining, but when the race got delayed by several minutes he grew worried that the race might be canceled altogether.

"That's happened to me before when I prayed for rain," said Toner, who had assistant Dana Antonczak saddle the horse for him at Colonial.

But the show went on, and Sailor's Cap put on quite a show. Racing in fifth position under Alan Garcia, Sailor's Cap made a four-wide sweep into contention around the turn then continued to explode through the stretch for an overpowering score. Sailor's Cap, a 3-year-old son of Distant View owned by Team Valor International, covered the 1 3/16 miles in 2:04.42 and returned $9.20 as the slight favorite in the 10-horse field.

"He settled in nicely down the backside and once he made that move it was like 'Oh, my God!' he just circled those horses," Toner said. "He loves that kind of ground, and he's just an improving horse."

Sailor's Cap won a first-level allowance race over yielding ground at Keeneland in April then was beaten a nose by Tizdejavu over yielding turf in the Grade 3 American Turf at Churchill on May 2.

Toner said that more than likely he will send Sailor's Cap back to Colonial for the $750,000 Virginia Derby on July 19.

Lady Digby pulls upset in All Along

Lady Digby, under Jeremy Rose, rallied past pacesetting Eclisse in midstretch and rolled to a 2 1/4-length victory in the Grade 3, $200,000 All Along Breeders' Cup Stakes. Eclisse held second by a half-length over 3-5 favorite Rutherienne.

The All Along was run in a driving rainstorm that made the turf course good after it had been firm earlier in the day.

It was the first graded stakes victory for Lady Digby, a 4-year-old daughter of Grand Slam owned and bred by Earle Mack and trained by Graham Motion.

Lady Digby raced in third position for most of the race while Eclisse opened up a large early advantage. Lady Digby launched her bid entering the far turn, collared Eclisse in midstretch and sprinted home an eye-catching winner. Lady Digby covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:52.19 and returned $10.20.

* Smart and Fancy ($5.20) overcame a poor break with a furious rally in the stretch under Edgar Prado to win the $60,000 Buckland Stakes by four lengths over Ride Em Cowgirl.

It was the 11th win from 19 career starts for Smart and Fancy, a 5-year-old Maryland-bred daughter of Not for Love owned by Richard Frisia and trained by Tony Dutrow.

Smart and Fancy ran the 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:04.26 over firm turf.

* Midwatch ($20), a 9-year-old son of Sea Hero, won a pace battle with longshot Lujan and rolled to a 2 1/2-length victory over Bastille in the $35,000 Old Nelson Handicap. Midwatch, ridden by Javier Castellano, is owned by James Falk and trained by Rodney Jenkins.