10/19/2001 11:00PM

Volponi takes flight in Pegasus


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The real Volponi stood up Friday night at the Meadowlands with a strong closing move to take the $250,000 Pegasus Handicap under jockey Shaun Bridgmohan.

The son of Cryptoclearance sat off a steady pace and swept to the lead in the Grade 2 contest, holding off race-favorite Burning Roma to earn his second straight victory and a second career graded stakes victory. Owned by Amherst Stable and Spruce Pond Stable and trained by Hall of Famer Phil Johnson, Volponi covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:46.55.

Giant Gentleman set the pace over a track that had been favoring speed throughout the program, setting fractions of :45.28 and 1:08.90 - the fastest six furlongs fraction in the history of the race. Burning Roma moved alongside, but was quickly overtaken by the winner.

"I had a great trip and the pace set up good," said Bridgmohan. "He was running comfortably and he gave me the indication that he had a lot left. He just accelerated to the front. He kind of goofed around when he saw the lights, but he won with something left."

A double for Murray, Teator

Jockey Phil Teator and trainer Lawrence Murray won two of the five $100,000 undercard stakes. Cruise Along in took the Navajo Princess Stakes at 25-1 then both teamed for a controversial score in the Miss Liberty when Media Access (at 21-1) survived a 25-minute stewards inquiry into a roughly contested stretch run.

Trainer Juan Serey chose to leave top New York-bred Say Florida Sandy at Belmont for Sunday's Henry Hudson Stakes, but won the Skip Trial with entrymate Run Kush Run under Jose Bermudez. John Rotella's 3-year-old bested Oro de Mexico by 2 3/4-lengths and covered six furlongs in 1:09.11.

Talk's Cheap challenged graded stakes winner Rize for the lead then pulled away to a decisive 3 3/4-length victory over Runspastum in the Broad Brush Stakes under Chuck C. Lopez.

Beckon the King and jockey Norberto Arroyo Jr. upset Strategic Mission and Jerry Bailey in the John Henry Stakes by a length for owners Lawana and Robert Low and trainer Gary Contessa.