12/01/2007 12:00AM

Steve's Double caps big day for Werner

EmailWith the kind of day the trainer Ronny Werner was having on Saturday at Fair Grounds, you kind of figured things were going to work out for Steve's Double in the $60,000 Tenacious Handicap. Werner swept Saturday's early daily double, won a third race later on the card, and made it an even four when Steve's Double turned back Crossword to win the Tenacious by one length.

Steve's Double, a Stephen Got Even 3-year-old owned by Oxbow Racing LLC, now has won three straight races, and showed in the Tenacious that he could race effectively around two turns. In his most recent race, Steve's Double had come from slightly off the pace to win the Grade 3 Perryville at Keeneland at about seven furlongs, and he had performed effectively around one-turn miles in the past.

On Thursday, though, Werner cautioned that it remained an open question whether Steve's Double would be able to duplicate his form around a second turn, and at 1 1/16 miles. But Steve's Double handled the two-turn route with aplomb.

Away from the gates cleanly under jockey Jamie Theriot, Steve's Double settled into a comfortable stride, racing in third position going into the first turn as Tepexpan and Speedway set the pace. The opening quarter-mile went in 24.01 seconds, the half in a slow 49.47, and Steve's Double was in a great spot.

"When they went 24 and change, that was perfect," Werner said.

At a major disadvantage, however, was co-favored Crossword, whose lack of early speed put him well behind both the leaders and Steve's Double as the field raced onto the backstretch. Jockey Robby Albarado did what he could, moving Crossword up into striking range before the half-mile pole, but Steve's Double got the jump on him, going after the leaders midway around the far turn. Crossword, making a sustained run, came to him at the eighth pole, but Steve's Double clearly had something left, and pulled away in deep stretch to win by a length.

The winner was timed in 1:44.74, and paid $5.20. Longshot Catmantoo finished a distant third.