09/07/2006 12:00AM

Take the Ribbon live off bad trip


NEW YORK - You can see why it's called the Fall Championship Meeting. Right off the bat, on the first Saturday of its new meet, Belmont Park hosts a Grade 1 stakes tripleheader consisting of the $500,000 Man o' War and the $250,000 Garden City Breeders' Cup Stakes, both on the turf, and a terrific renewal of the $250,000 Gazelle Handicap. Elsewhere, Delaware Park has a big card of four stakes, topped by the $500,000 Kent Breeders' Cup and the $200,000 Endine.

Garden City Breeders' Cup

In the absence of 3-year-old filly turf standout Wait a While - who would have been odds-on - this becomes a better betting race. It is also a race that figures to be won from off the pace, with Delmarva, Maxxi Arte, and Quite a Bride likely to conspire for honest early fractions. I'm going with Take the Ribbon.

Take the Ribbon comes out of the Del Mar Oaks, in which she had an eventful trip. She moved up on the inside on the far turn as though a serious threat to win, but was blocked in upper stretch and had to angle out for racing room. When she did, Take the Ribbon caused crowding behind her, which eventually led to her disqualification. That move also seemed to blunt a lot of her momentum, but she still finished willingly between horses to be second under the wire.

French invader Chaibia should be used here in exotics with Take the Ribbon. She upset a Group 3 stakes at Deauville last month, earning a Timeform rating that fits nicely with this group.

Pucker Up

Soothsay has been competitive with much better competition in California, and she's the filly to beat. But being a closer, she is at the mercy of the pace, and the striking thing about this race is the complete lack of pace.

By default, My Chickadee and Royal Dazzle might find themselves on the early lead, but both appear overmatched, even if allowed to walk early. So, I want a filly with some quality who figures to be close to them early, and that filly is Ballet Pacifica.

Ballet Pacifica will be making her first start in this country, but the comment lines from her European races suggest she has enough early foot to achieve early stalking position. Being used to European-style racing, Ballet Pacifica probably has the kind of turn of foot that can break this race open at an opportune time.

Kent Breeders' Cup

The undefeated After Market is a very nice colt, perhaps no worse than the second-best 3-year-old turf male in the nation behind Showing Up. He will be a strong favorite in this race, and deservedly so. Nevertheless, it is worth taking a shot to beat After Market with Carnera.

After Market and Carnera raced against each other once before, in the Lexington at Belmont in July, finishing one-two. They were separated by 1 1/2 lengths, but considering Carnera's trip, the difference between them may not have been so big. Carnera disputed a strong early pace in the Lexington, and even though he took the lead in midstretch, he couldn't hold off After Market, who rated comfortably in the early stages. But last time out in the A in Sociology at Saratoga, Carnera rated well off the early lead, and responded with a victory that was a career-best performance. Carnera will be able to rate once again, and that might enable him to give After Market fits.


Delaware Park: Kent Breeders' Cup Stakes
3-year-olds, 1 1/8 miles, turf

Approximate post: Eastern-4:03 p.m., Central-3:03 p.m., Mountain-2:03 p.m., Pacific-1:03 p.m.; Stanton, De., forecast: Slight chance of thunderstorms, 84¦

1Sir Classic Chris83798730-1
5Sea of Trees85877415-1
6Act of God82918412-1
8Rock Lobster94878015-1
9Yankee Master92889715-1
10Silent Roar89868330-1
11After Market99100948-5
12Presious Passion87808415-1
Also Eligible:
13Kip Deville87959912-1
14Spider Power94919010-1

Track morning line odds

Belmont Park: Garden City B.C. Stakes
Fillies, 3-years-old, 1 1/8 miles, turf

Approximate post: E-4:08 p.m., C-3:08 p.m., M-2:08 p.m., P-1:08 p.m.; Elmont, N. Y., forecast: Slight chance of showers, 81¦

2May Night92918920-1
4La Mottien/an/an/a8-1
5Jade Queen9481568-1
6Maxxi Arte9583775-1
7Magnificent Song9292883-1
8Carriage Trail94788315-1
9Take the Ribbon9597854-1
10Quite a Bride8892905-1
11In Return90876820-1

Odds by Art Gropper

Arlington Park: Pucker Up Stakes
Fillies, 3-years-old, 1 1/8 miles, turf

Approximate post: E-5:25 p.m., C-4:25 p.m., M-3:25 p.m., P-2:25 p.m.; Arlington Heights, Il., forecast: Chance of thunderstorms, 75¦

2My Chickadee78697715-1
4Precious Kitten8188925-1
6Royal Dazzle76776930-1
8Ballet Pacifican/an/an/a9-2
9Palace Rumor9078806-1
10Chetten County79774912-1

Track morning line odds