06/10/2005 11:00PM

Sand Springs beats Intercontinental


ELMONT, N.Y. - Sand Springs and Intercontinental are both talented and temperamental fillies. On Saturday, Sand Springs's talent won out over Intercontinental's temperament in the $300,000 at Belmont Park.

Despite being pressed while racing on the lead and in the center of the turf course, Sand Springs spurted clear turning for home under John Velazquez and easily held off Intercontinental, the 7-10 favorite, to win the Grade 2 Just a Game by 2 1/2 lengths. It was another half-length back to Wonder Again in third.

Knowing that Sand Springs can be a handful, Velazquez was content to let Sand Springs race in the center of the course with longshot Please Take Me Out to her inside through a half-mile in 47.04 seconds.

Around the far turn, Sand Springs switched leads and went to the inside part of the course, with Asti to her outside and Intercontinental rallying four wide. Sand Springs drew clear in the stretch to win easily. Sand Springs, a 5-year-old daughter of Dynaformer, covered one mile in 1:33.05 and returned $17.40.

"If you try to fight her, she tries to run off and she tries to drift off a little bit," Velazquez said. "I kept her there in the middle of the track for a little while. When we got to the second turn, she switched to her left lead and she came in and she was very comfortable there. Once she got into a comfortable rhythm she was fine, and when I asked her to run she was there for me."

Sand Springs is owned by the Sangster Family Stable and trained by Bill Mott.

Intercontinental, the 123-pound highweight, seemed a bit headstrong while racing four wide down the backside and around the turn. But jockey Jerry Bailey was actually content with his mare's mindset and said Intercontinental just got outrun.

"I couldn't have been happier down the backside," Bailey said. "She just didn't fire. She didn't finish like she usually does. She had pace in front of her, [was] a little wide on the turn, but she's the best horse, she should be able to overcome that.''