11/15/2008 12:00AM

Wet track no problem for Dry Martini


On a gloomy and muddy day, there's nothing like a Dry Martini, and the 5-year-old gelding poured it on through the stretch to draw away from five rivals in Saturday's Grade 3, $110,500 Stuyvesant Handicap.

Dry Martini was off a beat slow and trailed by seven lengths early, as Temporary Saint and Brilliant Son battled through opening fractions of 24.16 seconds and 47.43 while pressed from the outside by Solar Flare and Ravel.

Shaken up by Channing Hill and still last midway on the far turn after six furlongs in 1:11.42, Dry Martini fanned four wide turning for home, struck the front approaching midstretch after a mile in 1:37.33, and splashed away to win the 1 1/8-mile route in 1:51.18 over a muddy and sealed main track. He paid $10.20 as the third choice.

"The race set up perfect for us," said Hill. "The horse really showed up today. He was a little unlucky lately."

Returning to dirt after giving futile chase to Formal Decree in two turf stakes at Belmont last month, Dry Martini's margin of victory was 3 1/4 lengths over Stud Muffin, who also rallied wide from off the pace and finished well on the outside to be a clear second by 3 3/4 lengths. Temporary Saint held third by a nose over Ravel, who in turn had a neck on Brilliant Son. It was 11 lengths back to Solar Flare, who stopped badly as the 2-1 favorite.

Trained by Billy Turner Jr., Dry Martini was notching his first victory since taking the Cornhusker Handicap at Prairie Meadows in June 2007.

"I'm very pleased," said Turner. "This horse has been coming along steadily. The last race on the grass, well, he just got a little too far out of it. The race set up just as we had hoped. He had to make up ground, quite a bit of ground, but the jockey was easing up on him at the wire."