Streaks come to an end for Secret Firm, 'Quest' Be Elusive wins at Colonial, sets track record for mile

Horse racing

September 20, 1998|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

ELMONT, N.Y. -- The last time Coronado's Quest and Secret Firm ran on the same day -- Travers day at Saratoga -- they swept the card.

Yesterday at Belmont Park, two races before Coronado's Quest finished last in the Woodward Stakes and snapped a five-race win streak, Secret Firm finished next-to-last in the Jerome Handicap and broke a six-race win streak.

Stumbling at the break, surging into the lead, faltering around the turn and finally fading to fourth, Secret Firm disappointed his Maryland connections -- trainer H. Graham Motion, jockey Edgar Prado, and owners Bill Beatson and Phyllis and Bill Dixon.

"He's probably given me the highest point in my training -- and now one of the lowest," Motion said.

The high point was at Saratoga three weeks ago when Secret Firm defeated a stern field in the seven-furlong King's Bishop Stakes, a field that included Favorite Trick, the 1997 Horse of the Year.

Yesterday, stretching out to a mile for the first time, the 3-year-old colt never showed the aggressiveness that marked his earlier races.

"He's won some tremendous races," Motion said. "But today he seemed like a flat horse.

"It's just so disappointing because I think the horse has been sort of underrated. You'd love for him to run his biggest race today. But that's just the name of the game."

Limit Out, the H. Allen Jerkens trainee, won the Jerome by 2 1/4 lengths in 1 minute, 36 1/5 seconds. He paid $9.20 to win. The exacta with 6-5 favorite Grand Slam returned $27.20. There was no trifecta betting.

In the afternoon's other stakes at Belmont, the 3-5 favorite Sharp Cat demolished an eight-horse field in the $250,000 1 1/16-mile Ruffian Handicap, winning by three lengths in 1: 42 2/5.

Furlough finished second at 18-1 and Stop Traffic third at 4-1. The exacta paid $35.40, the trifecta $93.50.

Note: Paco Gonzalez, the trainer of Free House, the 3-2 second choice in the Woodward who finished fourth, could only shake his head.

"What can I say? You saw what I saw," Gonzalez said. "My horse ran for only half a mile and threw in the towel. I don't know what was wrong with him."

Richard Mandella, trainer of the runner-up Gentlemen, was delighted.

"I'm very proud of the way my horse ran today," Mandella said. "But Skip Away showed everybody today just how tremendous a horse he is."


Colonial Downs: Be Elusive rallied from eighth at the three-quarter pole to nip The Unforgiven by three-quarters of a length in the $50,000 Virginia Mile Sweepstakes for fillies and mares in New Kent, Va.

Be Elusive, a 4-year-old filly, passed seven front-runners in the final quarter, including Indian Head Penny and Incredible Revenge, who was trying to go wire-to-wire.

The winning time of 1 minute, 35.04 seconds is a track record.

Be Elusive, daughter of With Approval, is trained by Jonathan Sheppard for the Augustin Stable, who races the filly primarily at Delaware Park.

Pub Date: 9/20/98

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