07/28/2007 11:00PM

Street Sense wins comeback; Travers next

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Street Sense, the Kentucky Derby winner, returned to the Saratoga winner's circle to a standing ovation from an announced crowd of 46,876 after wearing down a dead game C P West to register a hard-fought 1 1/2-length victory in Sunday's $500,000 Jim Dandy Stakes.

Making his first start since his second-place finish to Curlin 10 weeks earlier in the Preakness, Street Sense had to overcome some early traffic problems and a superb effort from C P West before eventually edging clear in deep stretch to win the Jim Dandy under regular rider Calvin Borel. Sightseeing rallied belatedly to finish third.

Street Sense became the first Kentucky Derby winner to race at Saratoga during the year he won the Derby since Thunder Gulch in 1995. The son of Street Cry, who was using the Jim Dandy as a prep for the Grade 1 Travers on Aug. 25, paid $2.70 after covering a mile and one-eighth in 1:48.99 seconds. He was also responsible for a minus show pool of $143, 181.

"He got a lot out of this race," said Carl Nafzger who trains Street Sense for owner James Tafel. "That was just what we needed for the Travers."

Street Sense raced a little closer to the pace than usual during the early stages of the Jim Dandy while in his customary spot along the rail. Flashstorm set honest fractions of :23.4 seconds, 47.13 and 1:11.70 for the opening six furlongs while pressed closely by C P West and Tiz Wonderful, who was trapped wide while racing rankly during the early stages of the race.

Street Sense had to steady along after getting trapped in behind the leaders around the second turn before Borel angled him out three wide to secure clearance at the head of the stretch. Street Sense finally stuck his head in front of C P West near the sixteenth pole, then gradually edged clear despite lugging in a bit approaching the wire.

C P West lunged in the air at the start while breaking very alertly, stalked the pace throughout, maintained a short advantage entering the stretch, drifted out briefly while fending off the winner through midstretch before ultimately succumbing inside the final sixteenth.

"We learned a lot out of this trip," said Nafzger. "We laid a little closer today. That was our plan. Of course you’re always concerned when they get trapped like he did around the turn, you never know how much run it will take out of them while they’re waiting to get out, but once he got clear it was great the way he responded."

Nafzger said he expects to see Street Sense improve off his performance in the Jim Dandy.

"We should see a better horse in the Travers," said Nafzger. "He’ll have more fitness and a run over the track which is a big advantage. We had all the horse we needed for today and I'm glad this race was a mile and one-eighth. I thought C P West ran a hell of a race. He wouldn't let us go by without a fight and I'm sure we'll see him again in the Travers."

Ecen in defeat, trainer Nick Zito was excited about C P West's performance.

"He ran second to a champion," said Zito, who also sent out Wanderin Boy to finish second in the previous afternoon's Grade 1 Whitney.