09/01/2008 11:00PM

Vineyard Haven all the way in Hopeful

Barbara D. Livingston
Vineyard Haven (right) wins the Hopeful over Cribnote, who bolted wide around the turn.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Jockey Alan Garcia and trainer Bobby Frankel capped an excellent Saratoga season on Monday when Garcia guided the Frankel-owned and -trained Vineyard Haven to a front-running 2 1/4-length score in the Grade 1, $250,000 Hopeful Stakes.

The victory enabled the 22-year-old Garcia to clinch the Saratoga riding title while giving Frankel his fourth Grade 1 win of the meet.

Garcia won two races on Monday, giving him 39 for the meet, three more than John Velazquez.

"To win the stakes and finish as leading jockey in Saratoga, that's the best," Garcia said. "It means a lot for my career. I think it's going to be a good push to keep going, keep working hard, and I'm so happy for that."

Frankel purchased Vineyard Haven, a son of Lido Palace, privately after he won his debut by 4 1/4 lengths at Calder on June 28. Vineyard Haven finished third in the Grade 2 Sanford here on July 24, but Frankel said he missed some training time leading up to that race and that Vineyard Haven lost a shoe in the race.

Monday, Vineyard Haven broke on top and dueled outside of Break Water Edison - a horse Garcia had ridden in his last start - through fractions of 22.68 and 45.17 seconds. Approaching the quarter pole, Vineyard Haven ran away from Break Water Edison. Cribnote, who was a stalking third, bolted coming into the stretch, thus making things much easier for Vineyard Haven in the stretch. Cribnote rallied gamely to be second, two lengths ahead of a slow-starting Munnings.

Vineyard Haven, whose owners also include Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre and restaurateur Louie Lazzinnaro, covered the seven furlongs in 1:23.40.

Frankel ended the meet with 11 winners, including Ginger Punch in the Go for Wand and Personal Ensign and First Defence in the Forego.

Kimmel wins seven straight

Before Break Water Edison's fourth-place finish in the Hopeful, trainer John Kimmel won the second and third races on the card, giving him seven consecutive winners over a four-day period.

On Friday, Kimmel went 3 for 3. He won one race each on Saturday and Sunday and kept the streak going with Gem for Hook ($4.90) and Premium Gold ($25.60) on Monday. It is uncertain whether the seven consecutive victories is a Saratoga record. On Aug 30, 2004, trainer Todd Pletcher won five consecutive races.

"With a small barn of horses we have; I think it's a pretty good feat," said the 54-year-old Kimmel. "Obviously, it gives everybody in the operation a little boost of energy. Hopefully, it'll stimulate some business and people won't forget that John Kimmel was once the leading trainer in New York.

"Sometimes it's hard to get horses. I'm appreciative of what I have and maybe we can use this as a little rallying point."

Also on Monday:

* Trainer James Bond entered Monday's final card 0 for 14, but he ended the meet with two stakes wins.

Hostess slingshotted past pace-setting Tejida in midstretch then held off a late run from Palmilla to take the Grade 3, $108,900 Glens Falls Handicap by a neck. Hostess, a 5-year-old daughter of Chester House owned by William Clifton, covered the 1 3/8 miles in 2:11.66, establishing an inner turf course record. The previous mark of 2:12 was set by Babinda in 1997.

Two hours earlier, the Bond-trained Tommasi ($15.40) took over from the pacesetting Johnie Bye Night at the three-sixteenths pole and cruised to a three-length victory over Dr. D.F.C. in the $81,750 Loudonville Stakes for New York-breds.

* Salute the Count rallied strongly from off the pace to win the $84,000 Quick Call Stakes by a nose over 58-1 Kingship. It was another nose back to Hellvelyn.

* Kiaran McLaughlin won the trainers title, 17-15, over Todd Pletcher. It was McLaughlin's first meet title at a New York Racing Association track

* Ken and Sarah Ramsey won their first Saratoga owners title with 12 wins.