08/19/2001 11:00PM

Saturday Stakes roundup (8/18/01)

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Flute's new way to win: Wire to wire

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Flute took command of the Alabama right from the start, and with her victory in the Grade 1 race took command of the 3-year-old filly division.

Somewhat surprisingly, Flute outsprinted her six rivals to the front entering the first turn and then proceeded to lead at every call in winning the $750,000 Alabama by 4 3/4 lengths before 35,616 fans Saturday at Saratoga.

Exogenous, who was second in the Coaching Club American Oaks, rallied for second, 2 3/4 lengths ahead of 42-1 shot Two Item Limit. Dancethruthedawn, Real Cozzy, Tweedside, and Unrestrained completed the order of finish.

By adding the Alabama to her impressive victory in the Kentucky Oaks three months ago, Flute has ascended to the top of the 3-year-old filly division.

"Right now, she's the head of the class," trainer Bobby Frankel said.

On paper, Flute looked every bit the favorite she was made by the betting public. But she figured to come from off the pace as she had done in the Kentucky Oaks.

But when the doors opened, an eager Flute took jockey Edgar Prado to the lead and they carved out fractions of 23.74 seconds, 47.26, 1:11.34, and 1:36.28. Turning for home, Prado shook up Flute, and despite drifting out slightly down the lane, she came home an easy winner. The final time of 2:01.88 equaled the fifth-fastest Alabama time at 10 furlongs. Flute, a daughter of Seattle Slew owned by Juddmonte Farms, returned $3.70 to win.

"She broke so well and it seemed like nobody wanted to go to the lead," said Prado, who picked up the mount when regular rider Jerry Bailey went to Chicago to ride Hap in the Arlington Million. "I took a nice long hold and she was playing around going to the first turn. When she opened up a length, length and a half she relaxed a little better. Around the second turn she was looking around a little bit, but when she heard someone coming she took off again."

Frankel said he was somewhat surprised to see Flute on the lead, but had no worries as he watched the race unfold.

"She broke, he took a hold of her, and she just went on to the lead easy," said Frankel, who won his third stakes here and is now 6 for 14 at the meet. "He did the right thing not trying to fight her or anything. I was never worried."

Frankel said he was unsure where he would run Flute next. He hinted that he might train her up to the Breeders' Cup Distaff at Belmont Park on Oct. 27.

- David Grening

Golden Apples wins Del Mar Oaks as 21-1 longshot

DEL MAR, Calif. - Five days after arriving from Ireland Golden Apples pulled off a major upset in Saturday's $300,000 Del Mar Oaks.

Rallying six wide throughout the stretch, Golden Apples ($44) won her first stakes in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks, which her first start for owner Gary Tanaka and trainer Ben Cecil. She was bought privately last month, and joined Cecil's stable on Wednesday after clearing quarantine.

Ridden by Garrett Gomez, Golden Apples ran 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:47.98 before a crowd of 18,474. Golden Apples, the second-longest shot in the field of eight 3-year-old fillies, was in midpack to the final turn when she launched a wide rally.

Voodoo Dancer, the 6-5 favorite, who had been second for the first half of the race, took over in early stretch and led narrowly at the eighth pole. Affluent, the early pacesetter, retook the lead in the final furlong, but could not hold off Golden Apples, who won by a length.

"She takes a little time to get going, but after she leveled off around the bend she had quite a kick at the end," Cecil said.

Reine de Romance, trained by Jenine Sahadi, Cecil's wife, finished third, followed by Voodoo Dancer.

- Steve Andersen

Monmouth: Pure Precision, what a juvenile!

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Pure Precision completed a sweep of Monmouth's 2-year-old stakes for males Saturday. The George Steinbrenner-owned colt captured the Grade 3 $150,000 Sapling, the premier race for juvenile colts here, by 1 1/4 lengths over even-money favorite Truman's Raider in front of a crowd of 13,047.

Pure Precision ($11.20), ridden by Eibar Coa for the first time, broke a bit slowly out of post 2, which was the inside post after Outstander scratched. But he soon raced to the lead, and dueled the entire way around the track with the D. Wayne Lukas-trained Truman's Raider, who broke right outside of the winner. Turning for home Pure Precision began to pull away. He maintained the lead through the stretch, and Truman's Raider held on by a neck for second over Wild Navigator.

"We weren't planning on going to the lead, but Eibar said he stumbled leaving the gate and when he picked him up her just ran on," said winning trainer John Tammaro III. "I think there's a good chance he can stretch out, but you never know until you try."

Pure Precision won the $50,000 Tyro Stakes, the Sapling prep, in his first race at Monmouth. Pure Precision had been stabled with Manny Tortora in Calder for two races, including a 10 3/4-length maiden win and a second in the Criterium Stakes.

He was shipped to Monmouth by Steinbrenner, and the strategy has worked perfectly. In winning the Sapling, he avenged his only career loss, the runner-up finish to Juggernaut in the Criterium.

- Ryan Goldberg

Pimlico: She's Xtra fast

BALTIMORE - She hasn't had a break since she began her career, but 3-year-old filly Xtra Heat just keeps getting better. Having established herself as one of the swiftest sprinters in the country, Xtra Heat returned to Maryland today, after big races on the road, and demolished four hopeless older opponents to win the $125,000 Straight Deal Breeders' Cup in track-record time at Pimlico.

Breaking right to the front from the outside post position, Xtra Heat roared through fast fractions and crossed the finish line six lengths in front of Superduper Miss. Xtra Heat's time of 1:09.07 seconds tied the 11-year-old track record of Northern Wolf.

"She's unbelievable. She's a little freak," said jockey Rick Wilson, who never raised his whip.

The win was the 15th in 18 career starts for Xtra Heat, trained at Laurel Park by John Salzman Sr. for co-owners Kenneth Taylor of Columbia and Howard Deitchman of Baltimore. Even before the Straight Deal, Salzman had begun thinking of tackling the $1 million Breeders' Cup Sprint on Oct. 27 at Belmont Park. In high spirits in the winner's circle, Salzman played coy about his plans.

"There's a race at Charles Town that night," Salzman said.

Wilson firmly believes Xtra Heat belongs in the Breeders' Cup Sprint, even if it means racing against males. "Safely Kept did it," he said, referring to the famed Maryland-bred Eclipse Award winner of 1989 and Breeders' Cup Sprint winner the following year. "I rode Safely Kept, and this filly is as fast as Safely Kept ever was."

- The Washington Post

Ellis Park: Huge show payoffs

Buster's Daydream, the 1-5 favorite, finished off the board in Saturday's $100,000 Ellis Park Juvenile and the result was triple-digit show payoffs on the top three finishers. Request for Parole won the seven-furlong race and paid $24, $17.60, and $134.60. Runner-up Twin Talk returned $22.20 and $195.80, and third-place finisher Classic Hero paid $230.60.

Buster's Daydream made what appeared to be a winning move on the turn, but he suddenly flattened out and finished fourth.

In the $100,000 Ellis Debutante, also Saturday, heavy favorite Lakeside Cup and Playing 'n Gold were placed in a dead heat for the victory after the photo-finish system malfunctioned, according to Luke Kruytbosch, Ellis director of media relations. Kruytbosch said placing judges were unable to separate Lakeside Cup and Playing 'n Gold after viewing video replays of the finish.

Lakeside Cup, the 3-5 favorite, paid $2.20 and Playing 'n Gold, at 7-2, returned $2.80.

- Ira Kaplan

Calder: Fappie's Notebook wins Groomstick

MIAMI - Fappie's Notebook served notice he will be a force to reckon with in the local handicap division for the remainder of the year when he won the $60,000 Groomstick Handicap. Returning from a four-month layoff, Fappie's Notebook finished a half-length in front of his uncoupled stablemate, Alice's Notebook.

Fappie's Notebook settled nearly 10 lengths off the blistering pace of Kipperscope, who went the opening quarter and half miles in 21.25 and 44.69 seconds. Alice's Notebook overtook the staggering leader between calls near midstretch but Fappie's Notebook finished strongly down the middle of the track despite not changing leads through the stretch to collar his stablemate in the final 40 yards.

Callie and Jake finished best of all, missing second by a nose after rallying from last in a field of eight older colts and geldings.

Fappie's Notebook ($4.40) was ridden by Sebastian Madrid, who swept the afternoon's two stakes. Earlier in the day he guided Mr. Livingston to a three-quarter-length victory over Special Coach in the $30,730 Ensign Ray Handicap on the turf.

- Mike Welsch

Emerald Downs: Graceful Cat denies Canadian

AUBURN, Wash. - Graceful Cat powered to the front at the top of the stretch and held off a bid from Canadian invader Inish Glora to score a 1 1/4-length victory in Saturday's $100,000 Washington Breeders' Cup Oaks at Emerald Downs. Another Canadian, Lady's Jewel, held third after setting the pace.

Graceful Cat, a 3-year-old daughter of Forest Wildcat who races for Logan Garrison and Savario Farm, completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.20 under Gary Baze.

Trained by Sharon Ross, Graceful Cat paid $12.60 to win as the third choice in a field of 10 and earned $55,000, boosting her earnings to $88,500 and her record to three wins in five starts.

- Dennis Dodge

Bay Meadows: Mimi's Cafe wins Lady Morvich

SAN MATEO, Calif. - Mimi's Cafe, ridden by Russell Baze, held off Aviate through the stretch to win the $40,000 Lady Morvich Handicap for fillies and mares by a head at Bay Meadows Saturday.

Casa's Kids set the pace in the 1 1/16-mile turf race under pressure from Danzigca, with Aviate and Mimi's Cafe in third and fourth most of the way. Mimi's Cafe, who was on the outside of a boxed-in Aviate, rallied on the second turn and took the lead approaching the quarter pole. She opened about two lengths in early stretch, then held on as Aviate slowly gained to the wire. Palace Royale finished far back in third in the field of seven.

Mimi's Cafe, trained by Terry Knight, ran the distance in 1:44.43. She paid $7.60 to win.

- Dale Omenson