SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- Housebuster, an Eclipse Award-winning sprinter, took yesterday's $115,800 Forego Handicap at Saratoga Race Course by a nose over 32-1 shot Senor Speedy.
The second-place finisher broke a step slowly and still managed to get his head in front a jump before the wire. He lost the bob of the head at the finish but may have been the best horse.
"It was a tough race," said winning trainer Jimmy Croll. "I thought we got beat; I thought he got us in the last jump."
Housebuster, who had been rated in his last start, a win in the Frank De Francis Memorial Dash at Laurel Race Course, was urged from the gate by rider Craig Perret. Clevor Trevor, who finished second behind Easy Goer in the 1989 Travers, put the pressure on. Housebuster led by a half-length after the pair sizzled through a half-mile in 43.45 seconds.
"We backed off the pace the other day because there were a couple of speedballs in there," Perret said. "This time, if they wanted to try and beat him early, we were going to make them pay."
Housebuster shook off Clevor Trevor to open up by two lengths at the eighth-pole. Perret then braced for the oncoming challenge of Senor Speedy, and Housebuster responded to hold on.
Housebuster paid $3.20 and equaled the stakes record with his final time of 1 minute, 21 seconds for seven furlongs. Clevor Trevor held on for third.
"I thought maybe we could catch Housebuster when we got into the stretch," said Jorge Chavez, the rider of Senor Speedy. "My horse had a problem at the start. In the beginning, he took the door in his face and he started to jump. After that, I was trying hard, and we almost got there."
Despite the scare at the wire, Perret and Croll were pleased with Housebuster's race.
"He ran awful well," Croll said. "The time was terrific, and we really didn't hone him up for the race."
Housebuster is scheduled to run next in the Sept. 28 Vosburgh at Belmont. His last career start will come in the Nov. 2 Breeders' Cup Sprint at Churchill Downs.