Updated on 09/15/2011 1:20PM

Shine Again sticks her head in front


ELMONT, N.Y. - Shine Again got the better of Dream Supreme in the Grade 1 Ballerina at Saratoga in August and did it again Friday in the $150,000 First Flight Handicap at Belmont Park.

Shine Again, under Jean-Luc Samyn, outgamed Dream Supreme, the 4-5 favorite, in the final yards of the seven-furlong First Flight, a Grade 2, to win by a head. It was another three lengths back to Kalookan Queen in third in the six-horse field of fillies and mares.

Dream Supreme, who usually sits in a stalking position, found herself on the lead after Kalookan Queen, the second choice, got off to a stuttering start. Dream Supreme, with Pat Day in the saddle, shook off a challenge from Tugger around the turn. Kalookan Queen made a run on the rail at Dream Supreme entering the stretch, but couldn't pass the pacesetter. Dream Supreme, who set fractions of 23.16 seconds and 46.56, looked home free until Shine Again came flying on the outside as the wire loomed.

Samyn said the outer portion of the track was playing better than the inside. "I saw [Kalookan Queen] go inside of Dream Supreme and figured it would be a mistake," Samyn said.

Bill Mott, Dream Supreme's trainer, said he wasn't disappointed with the effort.

"It was a great effort considering it wasn't her preferred style," Mott said. "When [Kalookan Queen] broke slow, I thought it might work out in our favor. But it didn't at the finish."

Shine Again ($11.40) covered the distance in 1:23.21 over a fast track.

Shine Again, a 4-year-old daughter of Wild Again, really started to put it together during the winter for trainer Allen Jerkens. Shine Again, who is owned and bred by Bohemia Stable, won a $100,000 race at Gulfstream Park, which carried allowance conditions, in March.

"Since then she has continued to improve," Jerkens said. "I still think she'll get the mile, although she hasn't so far."

Jerkens said Shine Again will get a freshening and will return at Gulfstream Park in February.

- Karen M. Johnson

Knickerbocker: Sumitas ends slump

On the eve of what he hopes will be his most prosperous day in racing, trainer Bobby Frankel stole a little pocket change.

Frankel sent out Sumitas to a front-running, neck victory in the Grade 2, $150,000 Knickerbocker Handicap. Manndar, who chased Sumitas from the start, finished second, a neck in front of the late-running Crash Course. It was another neck back to Eltawassul.

It was the first victory for Sumitas on the grass since May 16, 1999, when he won the Group 2 Mehl-Muhlens Rennen Stakes in Germany. He had lost 14 straight races on the turf and was just 1 for 16 the last 30 months. His lone win during that span came in the Caesar Rodney Handicap at Delaware Park, a race originally scheduled for the turf.

Frankel had entered Sumitas in a couple of turf races, hoping they were rained off the grass. He finally ran him on dirt in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, where he was eased in the stretch.

Frankel entered Sumitas in the Knickerbocker with the idea of having jockey Edgar Prado take him off the pace and make one run. But when he saw there was no speed in the race, Frankel called an audible.

"There was no pace in the race I decided to put him on the lead," said Frankel, who was to saddle six starters, including three favorites, on Saturday's World Thoroughbred Championships card. "If he didn't win today I didn't know what to do with him."

Under Prado, Sumitas carved out splits of 25.57 seconds, 51.24, 1:15.80, 1:39.53, and covered the 1 1/4 miles in 2:02.55 over a firm inner turf course. Sumitas, owned by Gary Tanaka, returned $5.80 as part of the favored coupled entry along with Spindrift, who finished fifth.

- David Grening

Athenia (div. 1): Verruma's stock rises

Verruma, who will be sold in next month's breeding stock sale at Keeneland, picked an opportune time to get her first graded stakes win in this country when she captured the first division of the Grade 3, $137,875 Athenia Handicap.

Verruma ($9.40) outdueled Irish import Siringas after a thrilling stretch drive to win by a nose. Freefourracing, the 5-2 favorite, finished well for third, one length farther back, after racing wide in her first start in a year.

John Velazquez rode Verruma, who was timed in 1:42.09 for 1 1/16 miles on a very firm turf course. The victory was the 5-year-old mare's eighth in 13 starts, and her third in six starts since being imported from her native Brazil for the partnership of Jael Barros and Earle Mack.

Verruma usually rallies from far back. But with little speed in the race, she found herself right behind pacesetters Shooting Party and Siringas, who set fractions of 25.21 seconds for the opening quarter and 48.95 for a half-mile.

"She was closer than she normally runs," said winning trainer Angel Penna Jr. "Johnny laid her up near the pace beautifully and gave her a great ride."

Verruma is scheduled to be sold on Nov. 26 at Keeneland. Penna said Hollywood Park's Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes would be considered for her next start, but since it will be run on Nov. 25, "it's a problem," he said.

- Jay Privman

Athenia (div. 2): Babae scores

Babae, overmatched in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Handicap, found the competition in the second division of the Athenia Handicap more to her liking when she rallied to a convincing 2 1/2-length victory over Batique.

Under a perfectly judged ride by Jorge Chavez, Babae rated off the pace of Batique, overtook the leader in early stretch and gradually edged clear. Batique held off the slow starting Sweet Prospect to finish second.

Babae, a Chilean-bred purchased by trainer Frank Alexander for owner Joseph Platt Jr. at the conclusion of her 3-year-old campaign, paid $6 as the favorite in a field of eight. Her final time of 1:40.53 for 1 1/16 miles over a firm turf was more than a second faster than Verruma's clocking in the first division.

"The only reason I ran her in the Flower Bowl was because the Noble Damsel came off the turf," said Alexander. "Today's distance suited her much better than a mile and one quarter. She's not Breeders' Cup eligible so running in the Filly and Mare Turf was never a consideration."

Alexander said he plans to send Babae to the farm in Ocala, Fla., to "let her unwind" before pointing her for a winter campaign at Gulfstream Park.

- Mike Welsch

Nashua: Listen Here prevails

Unbeaten in three starts, Listen Here is bound for more important stakes after a gritty win in the $109,300 Nashua Stakes.

Making his stakes debut, Listen Here ($6.50) ran a mile on the main track in 1:37.61, prevailing by a half-length over Monthir. There was a gap of 6 1/2 lengths back to third-place finisher Thunder Days.

Jockey Jerry Bailey had Listen Here well placed throughout, stalking pacesetters Brightest Ice and Monthir on the backstretch through fractions of 23.98 and 47.80 seconds set into a headwind. Bailey brought Listen Here three wide on the turn, engaged Monthir in early stretch and pulled clear late.

"I thought he was carried awful wide," trained by Bill Mott said. "He tried to lug in, but he showed some determination. He was actually getting away a little at the end."

The slow time in the Grade 3 Nashua did not surprise Bailey.

"It's very cuppy because the wind is keeping the water off," he said. "You have a very severe wind on the backstretch."

Owned by Lewis Lakin and Kim and Rodney Nardelli, Listen Here has earned $115,980. He won a maiden race over 5 1/2 furlongs at Saratoga on Sept. 1 and a seven-furlong allowance race at Belmont Park on Oct. 5.

The one-mile distance of the Nashua was an important test for Listen Here, Mott said. He does not have a specific goal for Listen Here's next start.

"We wanted to try the mile and try a stakes," Mott said. "We'll let him step up a notch. I guess I've got to think about it."

Listen Here was never considered for Saturday's Breeders' Cup Juvenile, Mott said.

"It never really came up," Mott said. "If I would have mentioned it, they would have been game, but we thought this was a reasonable spot."

- Steve Andersen