07/20/2003 11:00PM

Wild Spirit adds to Frankel's success


STANTON, Del. - On a day when three winners paid $50 or more, and two track records were broken, things settled back to normal for the feature race of a four-stakes program Sunday at Delaware Park.

Trainer Bobby Frankel, who scoops up graded stakes victories as readily as movie-goers gulp down popcorn, sent out odds-on favorite Wild Spirit to a dominating six-length victory in the Grade 2, $750,000 Delaware Handicap.

It was the 34th graded stakes win for Frankel this year. But, said Frankel, unlike some habits he never gets tired of winning, especially in big races.

"I like to win and when you're doing well, people want to send you good horses," Frankel said. "When I get good horses, I think I take good care of them. I try not to run them if they're not right."

Frankel admitted he never knew just how good of a horse he was getting when Wild Spirit came to his barn from Chile, where she was considered the country's top filly.

"I thought she would be good," said Frankel, who had great success with another Chilean import, Lido Palace. "But once I started training her, I could tell she was something special. She's really only 3 1/2 years old and there's a lot of improvement still in her."

In her only other U.S. start prior to the Del 'Cap, Wild Spirit easily won the Grade 2 Shuvee at Belmont Park.

"I've got an even better filly than her back in New York in Sightseek," Frankel said. "But I'd say Sightseek, Azeri, and her are the three best fillies in the country right now."

Frankel said he'd like to see Wild Spirit face Azeri in the Breeders' Cup Distafff. Although Wild Spirit is not Breeders' Cup eligible, Frankel said that if she continues to run well, the owner, Sumaya Us Stable, would pay the hefty fee to supplement her. Frankel did not specify where Wild Spirit will race next.

Jockey Shane Sellers, riding Take Charge Lady, tried to slow down the pace in the 1 1/4-mile Del 'Cap, going the first half-mile in 49.41 seconds. But Jerry Bailey, aboard Wild Spirit, was waiting to pounce.

"I could tell the first time we passed the wire they were going slow," Bailey said. "So I knew when I got the opportunity, I was going to take it."

Wild Spirit got within a head of eventual runner-up Take Charge Lady a mile into the race and was drawing away from her at the finish, despite the fact Bailey dropped his whip trying to switch it to his left hand at the eighth pole. She covered the distance in 2:02.95.

Summer Colony, attempting to become only the fifth horse to win the Del 'Cap in back-to-back years, finished sixth in the eight-horse field. Her jockey, John Velazquez, complained that Summer Colony had her head turned and was unprepared for the start. She broke last out of the gate and was never a factor.

An estimated 13,000 were ontrack for the 11-race program. Total handle was $4,489,189.

Kent: Foufa's Warrior sets record

The trouble lines for Foufa's Warrior are littered with comments like "hopped," "bumped," and "broke in the air." The hard-luck horse who ran into trouble on the Triple Crown trail and on turf finally got a clean trip.

As a result, Foufa's Warrior ($10.80) not only won the Grade 3, $250,000 Kent Breeders' Cup for 3-year-olds, but also broke the track turf course record for 1 1/8 miles. His time of 1:47.44 bettered the mark of 1:48 set by another 3-year-old, Royal Strand, in 1997.

Ridden by Ramon Dominguez, Foufa's Warrior sat patiently until he was asked to make a run coming into the final turn. Remind, the 2-1 second choice with Bailey riding, saw his one-length lead at the eighth pole evaporate as Foufa's Warrior flew past and drew off by 1 1/4 lengths.

Larry Murray, trainer of Foufa's Warrior, said he was concerned when the first quarter-mile went in a modest 24.09 seconds. But when pacesetter Gimmeawink reached the half in 46.49, Murray said he realized the race was setting up for a closer.

Dominguez said he was confident, too. "I kept him behind horses and tried to get him to relax," Dominguez said. "I knew he'd finish nicely. He really has a lot of heart."

Murray does not have a specific next race in mind for Foufa's Warrior, a son of Jade Hunter out of Foufa, adding he still is unsure whether the gelding's future is on turf or dirt.

"Most of the mare's foals have been grass horses, but he really could go back to dirt," Murray said. "If I entered him in a turf race and it came off the grass, I wouldn't be afraid to run him on dirt."

* Revved Up ($5.60) erased the name of John's Call from Delaware's record book with a wire-to-wire 3 1/2-length win in the $59,500 Cape Henlopen at 1 1/2 miles on turf. Ridden by Dominguez, Revved Up covered the 12 furlongs in 2:26.46, eclipsing the track record of 2:28 set by John's Call in 2000.

* Lights On ($50.40), Jeremy Rose up, rallied in the stretch to win her stakes debut, the $100,000 Light Hearted for filly and mare sprinters.