06/22/2001 11:00PM

Saturday Stakes Roundup (6/23)


Colstar repeats the feat

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - One year after winning the Locust Grove Handicap at Churchill Downs, Colstar successfully defended her title with a half-length victory over Solvig in the Grade 3, $172,800 race.

Saving ground throughout under jockey Jon Court, Colstar tracked the pace in fifth, as longshot Alybgood set reasonable splits of 23.97 seconds, 48.10, and 1:12.14. She re-mained fifth until the top of the lane, when she outclosed Solvig with a final furlong in under 12 seconds. Megans Bluff was third, 1 1/2 lengths behind Solvig.

Colstar raced 1 1/8 miles over a firm course in 1:48.79 before a crowd of 10,471. She carried high weight of 121 pounds and spotted the opposition up to 13 pounds.

Colstar ($6.20), a 5-year-old daughter of Opening Verse trained by Paul Fout, won for the 10th time in 17 starts. She improved her earnings to $978,056 for owner Beverly Steinman.

Unlike last year when Colstar won the Locust Grove as a relative unknown, this time the public was well aware of her virtues. Although she had finished fifth in her preceding start, the Grade 3 Gallorette Handicap at Pimlico, she was made the 2-1 favorite on the basis of her four wins from last season - which included the Grade 1 Flower Bowl.

Solvig, a two-time graded winner last season, rallied to test Colstar late but could not outfinish her through the drive. Megans Bluff also ran well in defeat, remaining competitive despite a wide trip.

- Byron King

Monmouth: Max's Pal cruises

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Max's Pal scored a three-length win over I'm Sentimental in the $75,000 Longfellow Stakes at Monmouth Park.

Under Rick Wilson, Max's Pal ($3.20), a 4-year-old son of Mar-quetry, powered to the front after stalking the fractions set by I'm Sentimental and eventual third-place finisher Personal First. He was timed in 1:09 for six furlongs.

"Max is as tough as any horse I've ever had," said Ben Perkins Jr., the winning trainer. "We started him here because he's doing so well, he trains at Monmouth and [owner Raymond Dweck] is from New Jersey."

Max's Pal has now won two races in a row, taking the Moseley Breeders' Cup Handicap at Suffolk Downs in his previous start. His last loss came in the Grade 1 Carter Handicap behind Peeping Tom at Aqueduct. He has won three times in four starts at Monmouth, including a win in the Rumson Stakes last September.

"I'd like to run him only in graded races from now on so he can get enough points to run in the Breeders' Cup Sprint," said Perkins. "He's a true three-quarters horse and he fits in that race."

Both Wilson and Perkins scored training and riding doubles on the program.

Wilson won the ninth race with Magical Madness in a $41,000 mile allowance. Perkins sent out first-timer Blinded By Love to an impressive victory in the opening race.

- Rowland Hoyt

Calder: Gomez wins first stakes

MIAMI - A torrential downpour that struck the area shortly after the beginning of the program forced the $50,000 Office Queen Stakes from the turf to a sloppy main track at Calder. The change in surfaces played right into the hands of Multiplicity, who set all the pace before outgaming Wander Mom by a half-length, giving jockey Jocy Gomez her first career stakes victory.

Coming into the Office Queen, Multiplicity had never won in five career tries on turf but had captured her only two previous wet track races by a combined margin of more than 13 lengths. Using her inside post to good advantage, Gomez sent the 3-year-old Office Queen to the front and then angled a bit wide while still clear entering the stretch. Wander Mom, well placed and saving ground throughout, rallied near the rail and appeared to gain a slight advantage inside the eighth pole, only to have Multiplicity reassert herself to prove narrowly best under pressure.

Rich Peace rallied to be third, another 2 1/4 lengths behind Wander Mom.

As a result of her perfect record in the slop, Multiplicity was sent off favored in a scratch-reduced field of nine 3-year-old fillies and paid $6.20. Her final time for the 1 1/16 miles was 1:49.59.

"She'll run on any surface but she really loves the slop," said Bill Kaplan, who trains Multiplicity for Ione and Herb Elkins. "We were delighted when the rain came, and Jocy just let her run her race. She has speed and had the rail which didn't hurt."

"I finally got to ride a stakes horse," Gomez said. "She's a speed filly and likes to go to the front. I had the one post so I knew I had to go."

- Mike Welsch