03/10/2003 1:00AM

Turf Paradise: Giovannetti takes gold


Giovannetti turned back several challenges en route to a three-quarter-length victory in the $100,000 Phoenix Gold Cup.

Giovannetti was hustled from the gate by jockey Danny Sorenson to set the early pace on a short lead inside three rivals, drew well clear in upper stretch of the six-furlong race, and then held off the late-running R. Baggio. It was another 2 3/4 lengths back to 28-1 Flying Supercom in third.

Giovannetti paid $7 as the second betting choice in the nine-horse field and was timed in 1:09.04. R. Baggio, who was part of a 6-5 favored entry with Grimm, lagged back in last place early and was fanned seven wide into the stretch before finishing well.

* Maria's Mirage ($9.40) won the $50,000 Cactus Flower, and Ceetoit was placed first in the $35,000 Black Mountain Handicap following the disqualification of Free Corona.