01/01/2009 12:00AM

Zada Belle gets shoe fixed, then romps


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Zada Belle's victory in Thursday's $67,965 Interborough Stakes was as easy as expected. But there were a few moments before the race that had trainer Tom Albertrani a little anxious.

As she walked out of the saddling stall to get a bigger girth put on, Zada Belle, the 1-2 favorite, twisted her left front shoe and it needed to be repaired by the paddock blacksmith.

"It's always a bad omen, like, 'Oh no, the shoe's coming off, she's going to get upset getting the shoe back on,' '' Albertrani said. "Somehow, she twisted her foot on the bricks here.''

With the shoe fixed, Zada Belle went to the track and easily took care of business, rolling to a 4 1/4-length victory in the Interborough before an announced calendar promotion crowd of 14,536 at chilly Aqueduct on New Year's Day.

Intentional Fever held off Blowing Kisses by a head for second. Are We Dreamin finished fourth, while Coli Bear was last after setting the pace.

Zada Belle, a 5-year-old daughter of Indian Charlie, won for the sixth time from nine starts and increased her bankroll to $247,899.

Under Ramon Dominguez, Zada Belle raced three wide outside of Coli Bear and Intentional Fever before moving into second place entering the far turn. Zada Belle took over from Coli Bear leaving the five-sixteenths pole and was kept to her task by Dominguez, who had to resort to the whip a few times in the stretch.

"She made a middle move a little sooner than I wanted to, but I didn't want to stop her at that point,'' said Dominguez, who won three races on Thursday's card. "When she made the lead turning for home, she had her ears up looking for company and I got after her a couple of times, then she went on to run.''

Zada Belle covered the six furlongs in 1:13.94 over the inner track and returned $3.10.

Justwhistledixie tops competitive Ruthless

Justwhistledixie, coming off a dominant 3 1/4-length score in the Love Affair Stakes on Nov. 28, heads a field of seven entered for Sunday's $65,000 Ruthless Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at six furlongs.

Six of the seven entered are coming off a victory, with Indian Rush a runner-up in a Finger Lakes allowance race last out.

Justwhistledixie, owned by West Point Thoroughbreds and Lewis Lakin and trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, has never been a shorter price than 2-1 in any of her four starts. She was beaten in two maiden races at Saratoga before winning a maiden race by seven lengths at Belmont on Oct. 13.

With regular rider Alan Garcia in south Florida to ride the Gulfstream meet, Justwhistledixie will be ridden by Rajiv Maragh from post 3.

The field, from the rail out, is Indian Rush, Could Be Us, Justwhistledixie, Unveil the Mask, J.J. Cuvee, Gnome's Delight, and Ocarson.

Mutuel chief upset with board comment

Sal Zammitto, the chairman of the Division of Mutuel Employees - the union that represents the New York Racing Association's mutuel clerks - was upset with comments made by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board regarding a rule change that went into effect on Thursday.

The rule requires patrons who attempt to cash a winning mutuel ticket of $300 or more after 10 days of purchase to provide their address, phone number, and Social Security number. A spokesman for the board said the rule was put in place, in part, to prevent mutuel clerks from harvesting, or making counterfeit copies of, uncashed tickets. The board's comment, in part, read that "the vast majority of parimutuel workers are very trustworthy individuals.''

"We take offense to that,'' Zammitto said. "We believe not the majority but all parimutuel workers are very trustworthy individuals. We're finally getting over the hump of what happened in the past, and this is like a little black eye to us. We object.''

Winning Move tops owners in 2008

For the third consecutive year, Steve Sigler's Winning Move Stable was the leading owner in terms of wins on this circuit with 89 in 2008. Winning Move, which has all its horses with Gary Contessa, had 108 winners in 2007 and 43 in 2006.

Finishing behind Winning Move in 2008 were Mike Repole (37), Darley Stable (33), Flying Zee Stables (31), and Robert Urrutia (27).

Contessa led all trainers with 150 wins in 2008.