06/09/2008 11:00PM

Victorina scores easy victory at a solid price


AUBURN, Wash. - Victorina was very much as advertised in Sunday's $50,000 Washington State Legislators Handicap, which is to say she was classy and fast.

Though trainer Greg Gilchrist, watching via simulcast at Golden Gate, professed to be concerned when Victorina fell 3 1/2 lengths behind pacesetters She's All Silk and Private Dreams after a quarter-mile in 22 seconds, there was little doubt that Victorina would win once rider Kevin Radke asked her to run on the turn. And win she did, scoring by more than a length over the fast-finishing Beaulena in 1:15.40 for 6 1/2 furlongs.

The surprising thing was that Victorina, a winner of 10 of her 18 starts and more than $500,000, paid $6.40 to win as the second choice in a field of seven. It was the highest win payoff for the 5-year-old Victorina since her maiden score at odds of 5-2 in her Santa Rosa debut in August 2005. The reason she paid so much was that so many bettors were enamored with Private Dreams, who was bet down to 3-5 off her powerhouse win in last month's Hastings Park Handicap. Private Dreams led into the stretch, but she came up empty when confronted by Victorina and finished fifth.

Gilchrist, who stayed at Golden Gate to saddle Wild Promises for her win in Sunday's Yerba Buena Stakes, was represented at Emerald Downs by former trainer Richard Wright. Wright now serves as assistant trainer for his son, Blaine Wright, who saddled Beaulena, which made the winner's circle ceremony somewhat bittersweet.

"The race set up great for Beaulena and she would have won it, but Victorina was just too good," said the elder Wright. "I knew she could beat the locals."

Beaulena will have a chance to do just that in the 1 1/16-mile King County Handicap on Julyo4. Victorina was scheduled to van back to Gilchrist's barn at Golden Gate this week. Gilchrist wasn't sure what would be next for Victorina, but he feels he has plenty of options.

"It's not too hard to find races for her," he said. "She is a good shipper, she can handle a pretty wide range of distances, and she fits just about anywhere."

Radke notches 1,000th career win

The win aboard Victorina was just one of several highlights for Radke over the weekend.

On Saturday, Radke notched the 1,000th win of his career when he booted the Howard Belvoir-trained Biddynthechief to victory in the sixth race. Radke, a 36-year-old native of Ohio, began riding in Northern California in 1998. He won riding titles at Emerald Downs in 2002 and 2003, but he missed all of the next two seasons and most of the 2006 season with injuries. He said one of the reasons he returned to riding after suffering multiple severe injuries in 2006 was to secure 1,000 wins, an important milestone in any rider's career.

Radke celebrated his 1,000th win by adding five more on Sunday's card. He won the fourth race aboard Regal Sis, then swept the last four races on Victorina, Nancy Perkins, Firetrail, and My Honey's Honey.

Radke is second in the jockey standings with 41 wins, two behind Ricky Frazier.

Tritium a tough-to-ride winner

It may not seem so remarkable that Tritium won Saturday's third race, a six-furlong maiden special weight affair for 3-year-olds, as the 4-5 favorite in a field of eight. A lot of patient work went into that win, however, and a lot more will have to be done if Tritium is to become the stakes horse he was clearly cut out to be.

Tritium, a half-brother to stakes winner Judicature, has been his own worst enemy through six starts to date. Even on Saturday he was throwing his head while racing extremely wide on the turn, but he turned on the afterburners once he reached the straight and got up to win by more than a length in 1:09.80 under Frazier.

"Ricky did a really good job, because he is not an easy horse to ride," said David Tollett, assistant to trainer Bill Tollett. "He throws his head up and he wants to run off, and just getting him to navigate the turn is a chore. Ricky let him break and then got him to settle a little bit, which is about all we can hope for at this point. He is a big, powerful horse with a ton of talent, but mentally he doesn't quite get it. He lacks focus."

Tollett said Tritium does nothing wrong when training in the morning, and he is confident the horse will eventually do things right in the afternoon as well.

"He will mature," he said. "We just have to keep hanging in there and keep doing it until he gets it. It has been frustrating because he is so obviously talented."

* Last year's Longacres Mile winner, The Great Face, worked a half-mile in 46 seconds flat, the fastest of 110 half-mile works Sunday.