09/15/2007 12:00AM

Tale of Ekati overcomes start

EmailELMONT, N.Y. - Tale of Ekati overcame a poor break and traffic trouble to win the Grade 2, $250,000 Futurity for 2-year-olds Saturday at Belmont Park.

The colt improved his record to 2 for 3 with a one-length win over 4-5 favorite Kodiak Kowboy, with Mythical Pegasus third.

The time was 1:22.33 for the seven furlongs on a fast track.

Tale of Ekati won his maiden at first asking by 8 1/4 lengths here on July 7. He followed that with a second-place finish in the Grade 2 Sanford at Saratoga, coming out of the race with sore shins.

"We fixed them up and gave him a little time," said trainer Barclay Tagg who, one race earlier, won the Grade 3 Noble Damsel with Dance Away Capote. "We gave him time to freshen up. He came back in his workouts and you could feel that he was coming around."

At this point, Tagg is leaning toward training the colt up to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile on Oct. 27 at Monmouth Park, bypassing Belmont's Grade 1 Champagne on Oct. 6.

"If I go to the Champagne and the Juvenile, it's kind of a push, going three weeks and then three weeks," Tagg said. "It's a lot to ask of a young horse."

Jockey Eibar Coa gave Tale of Ekati credit for a poised performance.

The colt hit the gate at the break and never had clear running until a hole opened on the fence in the stretch.

"He was very professional and really helped me out," Coa said. "I was in trouble the whole race, being trapped inside. He was patient with me and didn't get stupid. As soon as he came through, I knew he had it."

The loss ended Kodiak Kowboy's four-race winning streak that included the Grade 3 Bashford Manor at Churchill Downs and the Grade 2 Saratoga Special.

He was in solid striking position at the top of the lane but could not hold off the winner's inside move.

"I don't want to take anything away from the winner," trainer Steve Asmussen said. "He got left at the gate and ran a great race to beat us. We'll probably train up to the Breeders' Cup."

Paint was fourth followed by The Leopard and Stand Pat.