09/22/2007 12:00AM

Stay Close wins Schapiro at Laurel by nose

EmailTrainer Michael Zwiesler found the right spot for Stay Close.

Zwiesler scratched the 5-year-old gelding from the $200,000 Larry Riviello President’s Cup at Philadelphia Park last week in favor of the $100,000 John Schapiro Memorial Handicap Saturday at Laurel.

Stay Close ($6.80) proved the decision right with a game nose victory over the pacesetting Jungle Fighter with Bastille third. The time was 1:46.41 for the 1 1/8 miles on the firm course.

Stay Close improved his record to 5 for 9 this season. He saved ground in the early stages before brushing lightly with Headsandtales while easing off the rail in the stretch. It took a determined effort to squeeze out the narrow win.

Jungle Fighter was also a recent scratch, defecting from the Grade 3 Cliff Hanger at the Meadowlands Racetrack on Friday night. He bore in coming out of the gate but proved a stubborn leader the rest of the way.