10/03/2008 11:00PM

Two weeks' rest is plenty for Cuba


Say this for Cuba: He does not require a lot of rest.

Fourteen days after facing Commentator in the Massachusetts Handicap at Suffolk Downs, Cuba was back in the starting gate for the Maryland Million Classic at Laurel Park on Saturday.

Little rest, no problem. Cuba sat just outside pacesetter Diamond David for most of the 1 3/16-mile, $300,000 race, swung to the lead on the turn, and won going away by four lengths.

It was a fitting end to the 23rd annual Maryland Million Day, a 12-race event for offspring of Maryland sires, including nine stakes worth a total of $1.55 million.

"He was the best horse in the race and he ran like it," said winning rider Pedro Cotto.

Diamond David, 9-1, held second by a head over 5-1 Evil Storm. Five Steps, the $1.10-1 favorite, ran wide on the turn and flattened, finishing fourth.

Cuba ($4.40) was timed in 1:57.78.

Claimed by Leo-Sag Stable in February 2008 for $18,000, Cuba earned $180,000 to raise his bankroll to $673,549.

In June, Cuba scored a 7 1/2-length blowout in an optional claiming race at Monmonth off 14 days' rest, tying his career-best 99 Beyer Speed Figure.

"A lot of times you worry about coming back on short rest," said Cuba's trainer, Bobby Dibona. "But this horse does it every time."

Earlier on the card:

* Celtic Innis won the $150,000 Sprint Handicap by 2 1/2 lengths over Lemons on Love with 3-5 favorite Grand Champion a no-excuse third.

* Favored Broadway Producer ($4.20) outdueled 2-1 Dr. Rico in a two-horse sprint to the wire to win the 1 1/8-mile, $200,000 Turf by a neck.

* Favored Juke Joint ($4.20) took the lead midway on the turn and widened to a 4 1/4-length blowout in the $150,000 Nursery. It was Juke Joint's third win in as many starts, by a combined margin of 21 3/4 lengths.

* Kosmo's Buddy ($14) wore down heavily favored Natural Seven in the final jumps to win the $100,000 Turf Sprint Handicap by a nose. The time of 1:02.84 for the 5 1/2 furlongs on turf was 1.01 seconds off the course record.

* Miss Lombardi ($9.60) rallied from second-last of 12 early and found running room between horses in midstretch to kick clear and win the $200,000 Ladies by three-quarters of a length over fast-finishing Debbie Sue, who was seven-wide on the turn.

Maddy's Turn, the 2-1 favorite, was a never-threatening sixth.

"I had the choice of going very wide or looking to find room," said winning jockey Jeremy Rose. "I don't think we'd have won if we went wide."

* Miss Charm City ($10.40) bumped horses at the break but still got the lead, then stayed in front throughout in the seven-furlong, $150,000 Lassie. She finished 1 1/4 lengths ahead of runner-up Fools in Love with the 9-5 favorite Blind Date another 2 1/4 lengths back in third. It was the second winner on the card for jockey Horacio Karamanos, who rode Broadway Producer in the Turf.

* Sweet Goodbye finally gave trainer Chris Grove a Maryland Million winner, wiring the field in the one-mile, $150,000 Oaks. Grove had gone 0 for 9 in last year's Million and 0 for 2 Saturday until the Oaks. Sweet Goodbye paid $4.20 as the favorite, beating 3-1 second choice Saxet Heights by three lengths.

* Spectacular Mailbu ($9) tracked and then passed All Giving to win the Distaff by 2 1/2 lengths. Favorite Fancy Diamond was sixth.