07/27/2003 11:00PM

Sunday's stakes recaps

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Special Ring sets record in Eddie Read

DEL MAR, Calif. - Two years ago in the Eddie Read Handicap, Special Ring bolted, ran off to a needless long lead, and tired to finish last. He was gelded before he ran again.

Since then, he had won 5 of 11 starts and had come tantalizingly close to winning a graded stakes. He waited until Sunday, though, in the 30th running of the Grade 1 Eddie Read, to run the race of his life.

In a dominating, front-running performance, Special Ring led every step of the way and cruised home a five-length winner while smashing Del Mar's course record for 1 1/8 miles on turf.

Del Mar's turf is much shorter and firmer than in years past, and Special Ring was the greatest beneficiary during the first week of the meet. He was timed in 1:45.87, wiping Al Mamoon's 1986 record of 1:46.60 from the books.

Special Ring ($8.20) set fractions of 23.90 seconds, 47.46, and 1:11.03 for the first six furlongs of the $400,000 race. When he turned on the jets and ran his final three furlongs in less than 35 seconds, his five rivals had no chance.

The other five were within a half-length of one another at the wire. Decarchy was second, a neck in front of Irish Warrior. They were followed by Fateful Dream, Mister Acpen, and finally Redattore, the 6-5 favorite and the winner of the Read in 2001.

What a difference two years made.

"You don't know what I went through with this horse," said Julio Canani, who trains Special Ring. "For six months after we gelded him, he didn't realize he was a gelding. He's got so much ability."

Special Ring now owns two turf course records at Del Mar. He set the mile mark of 1:32.72 in last year's Wickerr Handicap, his lone previous stakes win. He was second in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile, and Grade 2 American Handicap, at Hollywood Park earlier this year.

David Flores rode Special Ring, a 6-year-old son of Nureyev who races for Art and Jack Preston's Prestonwood Farm LLC.

o Earlier in the day, Tucked Away ($26.80) rallied from last to first to beat eight rivals in the $100,000 Fleet Treat Stakes, for California-bred 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs. Tucked Away was timed in 1:23.34 on a fast main track. Gary Stevens rode Tucked Away, a daughter of Unusual Heat, for trainer Paddy Gallagher.

- Jay Privman

Saratoga: Sightseek impressive

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Anybody who had already conceded Azeri a second straight Breeders' Cup Distaff and division championship may be having second thoughts after watching Sightseek register her third straight one-sided Grade 1 victory, an 11 1/2-length triumph over She's Got the Beat and four other rivals in Sunday's $250,000 Go for Wand Handicap at Saratoga.

Sightseek's win was trainer Bobby Frankel's 15th Grade 1 victory of the year. It also was jockey Jerry Bailey's fourth consecutive winner on Sunday's card and fifth Go for Wand victory.

The Go for Wand was Sightseek's most impressive performance. Allowed to settle just off the slow pace of Miss Linda, Sightseek assumed command approaching the quarter pole, then steadily drew off while never being put to a drive by Bailey through the stretch. She's Got the Beat finished second, five lengths in front of Nonsuch Bay. Miss Linda tired to be fourth.

Sightseek paid $2.30 as the 1-5 favorite. Final time for 1 1/8 miles was 1:50.92 over a fast track.

Frankel said Sightseek would not run again until Belmont.

- Mike Welsch

Other Sunday stakes

o Poker Brad ($14.20) kicked away to a 3 1/2-length victory in the $100,000 Mt. Rainier Breeders' Cup Handicap at Emerald Downs. The favored Moonlight Meeting was up for second by a neck over Alfurune. Poker Brad will likely be pointed to the Grade 3, $250,000 Longacres Mile on Aug. 24.

o Twilights Prayer ($3.40) burst through horses in the stretch to win the $50,000 Spruce Fir Handicap at Monmouth Park, beating Someones Coming by 1 3/4 lengths, with So Excited third. City Fire ($4.40) took the $60,000 Serena's Song Stakes in a 16 1/2-length romp.

o Favored Stormthebarricade ($3.60) rode a speed bias to an easy 5 1/2-length score in the $133,375 Bull Page Stakes, a six-furlong dash for 2-year-olds at Woodbine. Kent Ridge ended up second, with Imperial Alydeed third.

o Centerofattention ($16) sat off a pace duel between A B Noodle and Knockout Crown and outfinished Knockout Crown late to win the $53,900 Luther Burbank Handicap at Santa Rosa by a head.

o Much Faster was just that as she sped to a three-length victory in the Group 2 Prix Robert Papin at Maisons-Laffitte on Sunday. The 2-year-old filly led throughout the 5 1/2-furlong affair at about 2-1 to defeat colts, as she had done in the five-furlong Group 3 Prix du Bois on July 5. Trainer Pascal Bary will likely run Much Faster next at Deauville on Aug. 24 in the Prix Morny, a six-furlong Group 1.

o At Dusseldorf, the 5-2 Sabiango defeated Storm Trooper by 3 1/2 lengths in the Group 1 Deutschland-Preis at 1 1/2 miles, as the favored Aolus pulled up lame at the half-mile pole.