04/07/2007 12:00AM

Silver Wagon runs 'em down

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OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Trainer Richard Dutrow said that when he shipped Silver Wagon from Florida to New York two months ago, the horse was so happy he began training like a 2-year-old. That just so happens to be the last time Silver Wagon won a Grade 1 race.

Silver Wagon, now 6, recorded his second Grade 1 victory Saturday, rallying from well off the pace to take the $300,000 Carter Handicap by 1 1/4 lengths over Diabolical. It was three-quarters of a length back to Ah Day in third.

Latent Heat, Keyed Entry, and Kazoo - all part of the early pace - finished fourth, fifth, and sixth.

The victory was the seventh from 24 career starts for Silver Wagon, who earned $180,000 to lift his career earnings to $1,159,193. He is owned by Four Roses Thoroughbreds, which last summer bought the horses of Buckram Oak Farm. As a 2-year-old, when owned by Buckram Oak and trained by Ralph Ziadie, Silver Wagon won the Grade 1 Hopeful at Saratoga.

"He's been training lights-out since we got back from Florida," said Dutrow, who also sent Silver Wagon to win the Grade 2 General George Breeders' Cup Handicap in February at Laurel Park. "Down there, he didn't want to train. I had a lot of confidence that he was going to run a big race."

Silver Wagon, who does his best running from off the pace, got a perfect setup. Latent Heat and Keyed Entry dueled through fractions of 21.74 seconds and 44.34 with Kazoo - a stablemate of Silver Wagon - attempting to push those two along.

Latent Heat put both of them away in upper stretch, but couldn't hold off Silver Wagon, who under Javier Castellano rallied outside of Diabolical and outfinished that rival to the wire. Silver Wagon covered the seven furlongs in 1:21.46 and returned $6.90 as the third choice.

"They went very, very fast," Castellano said. "It was a key to the race, because it set up perfectly for me. [Diabolical] and I hooked up together at the eighth pole and my horse finished good."

Dutrow said Silver Wagon would be pointed to the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park on May 28. Dutrow won the Met Mile last year with Silver Train, who was also owned by Buckram Oak and then Four Roses.

Magna Graduate makes no mistakes in Excelsior

Taking advantage of a disastrous start for odds-on favorite Corinthian, Magna Graduate rolled to a 3 3/4-length victory over Naughty New Yorker in the Grade 3, $209,100 Excelsior Breeders' Cup Handicap. It was a neck back to pace-setting Accountforthegold, who finished a neck ahead of Evening Attire. Corinthian finished fifth followed by Happy Hunting.

Corinthian, the 4-5 favorite, leaped in the air when the starting gates opened, and spotted the field about six lengths. He was never a factor.

"He was so good today in the paddock and in the gate," said Castellano, who rode Corinthian. "Today, everything was beautiful. As soon as they opened the gate - boom! He just broke in the air. I don't even know how I stayed on."

Meanwhile, Magna Graduate, under John Velazquez, settled in third as Accountforthegold streaked out to the lead, running factions of 23.78 seconds, 46.63 and 1:10.34. Magna Graduate rallied three wide approaching the quarter pole and took command just outside the eighth pole.

Magna Graduate, a 5-year-old son of Honor Grades, covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.10. He earned $125,460 to push his career earnings to $2,059,410.

"We obviously caught a fortunate break with Corinthian getting left at the gate," said Todd Pletcher, who trains Magna Graduate for owner Elisabeth Alexander. "To Magna Graduate's credit, he has really learned to relax with the blinkers. This was a big race for him."

* Malibu Moonshine ($2.80), the lesser accomplished of a Gary Contessa-trained entry, wore down a stubborn Monopoly Pricing to take the $78,700 Pleasant Colony Stakes by a neck. Ridden by Channing Hill, Malibu Moonshine covered the 1 3/4 miles in 2:57.54 for an ownership group led by Winning Move Stable. Successful Affair, the other half of the entry, finished third.