05/09/2003 11:00PM

Santos wins Nassau on House Party


ELMONT, N.Y. - Jose Santos salvaged one of the most difficult days of his riding career on Saturday when he guided House Party through a hole in upper stretch en route to a three-length victory in the Grade 2, $200,000 Nassau County Breeders Cup before 10,193 fans at Belmont Park.

Santos learned on Saturday that the Kentucky stewards were investigating whether he had something other than his whip in his right hand when he crossed the finish line in the May 3 Kentucky Derby, in which he guided Funny Cide to victory. Santos and his attorney, Karen Murphy, are scheduled to meet with the stewards Monday morning.

Santos, who denied having anything in his hand other than the whip, acknowledged that riding was a difficult chore Saturday.

"It definitely was on my mind," Santos said. "Especially when people are screaming 'Where's the machine? You didn't win because you didn't have the machine?'"

Santos didn't hear any of those comments after the Nassau County, in which he put a headstrong House Party in between horses down the backstretch and around the turn, waited for an opening in upper stretch, and guided the filly through it at the three-sixteenths pole. House Party ($6.50) covered the seven furlongs in 1:23.28 over a fast track.

"The only way I could get this filly to relax is put her in between the other horses," Santos said. "When she got in the clear, she really kicked that last quarter mile. She's getting better this filly."

House Party, a daughter of French Deputy, is owned by Bohemia Stable and trained by Hall of Famer Allen Jerkens.

Cyber Secret, the 3-5 favorite, held second after setting the early pace. City Sister finished third, five lengths ahead of Uphill Skier. Randaroo was scratched due to a lung infection, according to trainer Tony Dutrow.

Shake You Down wins Bold Ruler

Shake You Down passed his first stakes test with flying colors, winning the Grade 3, $108,400 Bold Ruler Handicap by a length over Here's Zealous. It was another 3 1/4 lengths back to Peeping Tom in third.

It was the third straight victory for Shake You Down, all since being claimed by trainer Scott Lake for $65,000 on March 12. In his previous two starts, Shake You Down won in the slop, earning a 118 Beyer Speed Figure in each race.

"I was more worried about coming back on two weeks' rest, as opposed to catching a dry track with him," said Lake, who sold the gelding to Robert L. Cole Jr. before to the Bold Ruler. "I was real impressed with his effort. We took him because if he didn't improve, we could drop him back to $65,000. He's put on 15 pounds from then to now."

Under Mike Luzzi, Shake You Down jumped out of the gate on top and set early fractions of 22.14 seconds and 44.65. Turning for home, Here's Zealous drew on even terms, but Shake You Down turned him back. Shake You Down covered the six furlongs in 1:08.24 over a fast track. He returned $5.60 to win.

"I was a little concerned on the turn when Here's Zealous got close to us, but at the same time, I had a lot of horse left," Luzzi said. "He's quick, but it didn't feel like we were moving that fast."

Lake said he would consider running Shake You Down back in the Grade 2, $250,000 True North Breeders' Cup Handicap on June 7.