07/15/2001 11:00PM

Saturday's Stakes recaps (7/14/01)

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England's Legend runs down Gaviola

ELMONT, N.Y. - It looks like England's Legend will have a say in the female turf division after her 1 1/2-length win over favored Gaviola in Saturday's $250,000 New York Handicap at Belmont Park.

Gaviola set an uncontested pace in the 1 1/4-mile New York over the inner turf, carving out fractions of 23.76 seconds, 47.82, 1:11.25, and 1:35.48. England's Legend, ridden by Corey Nakatani, tracked the leader from second position until drawing on even terms with Gaviola, who was ridden by Jerry Bailey, with a furlong remaining.

Gaviola, racing on the rail, didn't give in easily, and the two fillies battled down the stretch before England's Legend ($9.20) pulled away for the win.

Bailey didn't offer any excuses for Gaviola's performance. "She ran her race," he said. "We were run down by a filly who was slightly better."

The Grade 2 New York was England's Legend's third start in this country for trainer Christophe Clement. She ran fourth at Gulfstream in February in her U.S. debut, then won a first-level allowance race at Santa Anita in March. She was given some time off for a splint problem after that win.

Nakatani was aboard England's Legend for her win at Santa Anita and said he was impressed with the 4-year-old filly even then.

"I've gotten a lot of opportunities to ride good horses and she is very special," Nakatani said.

England's Legend, a daughter of Lure, is a candidate for the Grade 1 $700,000 Beverly D at Arlington Park on Aug. 18.

Gaviola's trainer, Bill Turner, said he would consider the $500,000 Diana Handicap at Saratoga on Sept. 3 for his filly's next start.

- Karen M. Johnson

Hollywood: Delahoussaye sweeps both stakes

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Affluent, who chased some of the nation's top 3-year-old fillies in the first half of the year, won her first stakes in the $150,000 Hollywood Oaks.

Sent off at even-money favorite, Affluent got an ideal trip under jockey Eddie Delahoussaye, who swept both stakes on the card. Earlier in the day, he won the Valkyr Handicap with Fair Apache.

Delahoussaye rated Affluent at the back of the five-filly field until the end of the backstretch when they engaged Collect Call, the 8-5 second choice.

Affluent and Collect Call ran together on the final turn and into mid-stretch when Affluent pulled away to win by 2 1/2 lengths. Trained by Ron McAnally for Janis Whitham, Affluent ($4) finished 1 1/8 miles on the main track in 1:49.20.

Affluent finished second or third behind Golden Ballet in three stakes at Santa Anita earlier this year, and was third in the Grade 2 Princess Stakes on June 16, a prep to the Hollywood Oaks.

- Steve Andersen

Colonial: Potaro takes Virginia Derby

In four starts since coming to the United States in April, Potaro has been involved in two races decided by a neck, another by a head, and a fourth by a half-length.

Fortunately for trainer Jonathan Sheppard, in three of the four races, Potaro has been in front at the wire.

Potaro's latest photo-finish came when he held off Bay Eagle by a neck in the $200,000 Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs.

A 3-year-old Irish-bred colt, Potaro ($6.40) was briefly headed at the eighth pole in the 1 1/4-mile turf race, but found an extra burst of energy and held off Bay Eagle to win for the fifth time in 11 lifetime starts.

Sheppard, who won the inaugural running of the Virginia Derby with Crowd Pleaser in 1998, said Potaro will be pointed to the Grade 2 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Handicap at Saratoga on Aug. 6.

* Colstar ($3.80) surpassed the million-dollar mark by scoring a three-length victory in the Grade 3 $150,000 All Along Handicap.

Her time of 1:47.53 for 1 1/8 miles on turf was just a shade off the track record of 1:47.40 set by Kerfoot Corner in 1998.

* Indispensable ($50), a 7-year-old gelding who had won only one race in 13 starts the past two years, romped to an 11 1/2-length victory in the $50,000 David "Zeke" Ferguson Memorial Handicap, a Grade 2 steeplechase.

- Joe DeVivo

Lone Star: Assembly no longer undefeated

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Explosive Truth handed Nuclear Assembly his first defeat in four starts when he drove to a 1 3/4-length win in the $101,000 Middleground at Lone Star Park.

Explosive Truth ($12.80) stalked favorite Nuclear Assembly to midstretch, overtook him, and went on to win the 5 1/2 furlong race for 2-year-olds in 1:03.38. Nuclear Assembly ran the opening four furlongs in a blazing 43.97 seconds and dug in late to hold off a surging Angela'stoughwater.

- Mary Rampellini

Ellis: Another win for Mott

Rose of Zollern contributed to another big day for trainer Bill Mott by rolling past favored Trip to win the $82,250 HBPA Handicap at Ellis Park.

Mott also won two races in Calder's Summit of Speed with Dream Supreme and Illusioned.

Under veteran Larry Melancon and 118 pounds, Rose of Zollern ($6) raced sixth early in the one-mile HBPA Cap before launching her winning bid between two tiring rivals at the quarter pole. Trip put away Maltese Superb at the top of the stretch but was no match for Rose of Zollern, who prevailed by two lengths.

- Marty McGee

Monmouth: Triple for Lopez

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Piazza Di Spagna and jockey Chuck Lopez teamed up to score triples with a front-running victory in the $75,000 Inside Information Stakes at Monmouth Park.

A 5-year-old mare, Piazza Di Spagna ($8.60) shipped south for owner-trainer Rene Araya after two easy claiming wins at Belmont Park. She made the lead on the backside and never looked back to give Lopez three wins on the afternoon.

Lopez also scored with Sardukar ($12.80) in the $50,000 Bet Twice Stakes.

- Rowland Hoyt

Canterbury: Purple Pleasure survives trouble

SHAKOPEE, Minn. -Purple Pleasure overcame a troubled break and several challenges to prevail in the $50,000 Canterbury Juvenile.

Ridden by Ramsey Zimmerman, Purple Pleasure ($6.20) bumped a rival at the start but was quickly righted to force the pace in the 5 1/2-furlong race. He drew clear in upper stretch but drifted in late while under stiff pressure to hold off Bug Hall by 1 1/4 lengths.

- David M. Miller

Louisiana: Nanie's Dinner sets soft pace

BOSSIER CITY, La. - Nanie's Dinner ($6), left alone on the lead through some pedestrian early fractions, drew off down the lane to win by six lengths in the Honeymoon Stakes at Louisiana Downs.

Taffy chased in vain throughout and finished second. Sarah Lane's Oates, with career earnings of just under $880,000, took a small step toward her quest for millionaire's status by finishing third.

- Jeff Taylor

Thistledown: Nance takes two stakes

Lady Cherie ($5.60) circled rivals quickly on the second turn to make the lead and went on to a driving one-length tally over her five Ohio-bred rivals in the $75,000 Rose DeBartolo Memorial at Thistledown.

The win gave trainer Michael Nance a clean sweep of the day's Ohio Stakes. His Left Lane Lorrain had won the Cincinnatian Stakes at River Downs 36 minutes earlier.

- Chuck Scaravilli