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Cajun Beat Has Fast Rhythm

The 23-1 longshot posts the third-quickest time ever in the race. His trainer had worried about horse's readiness.

October 26, 2003|Randy Harvey | Times Staff Writer

Cajun Beat went off at 23-1, but, based on his win last month in the Kentucky Cup Sprint that earned him his highest Beyer speed rating, he might have been the most logical longshot of the day.

Under jockey Cornelio Velasquez, Cajun Beat charged into the lead just after the quarter pole and was still separating himself from the 13-horse Sprint field at the finish, winning by 2 1/4 lengths.

His time of 1:07.95 was the third fastest ever in the Sprint.

It was the first Breeders' Cup victory for Velasquez and trainer Steve Margolis. Margolis took charge of the 3-year-old gray only three races before Saturday's, and, despite one win and two second places, still wasn't sure he was Breeders' Cup material.

"I tell you he was a little bit reluctant," co-owner Satish Sanan said. "I said, 'We don't get too many opportunities. Let's go for it.' That's exactly what I said. And I'm glad I did."

A couple of claimers that proved they belong with the elite, Bluesthestandard and Shake You Down, finished second and third.

Aldebaran, the favorite at 2-1 with the Hall of Fame connections of trainer Bobby Frankel and jockey Jerry Bailey, was a well-beaten sixth, 5 1/2 lengths behind the winner.

He still might prove to be the best horse in the field, but the experts were correct when they said six furlongs was too short a race for a horse that likes to come from far off the pace.

A sprinter who didn't sprint out of the gate, he was 13th at the quarter pole and had moved up only four places by the time they entered the stretch.

He made his move too late.

"A 16th past the wire, we were by all of them," Bailey said.

Bluesthestandard is the second claimer owned by Jeffrey Sengara and trained by the father-son team of Ted West and Ted H. West to finish second in a Breeders' Cup race. Budroyale was runner-up to Cat Thief in the 1999 Classic at Gulfstream Park. Sengara bought both horses for $50,000.

Shake You Down was not quite as much of a bargain but still a bargain, claimed for $65,000 by trainer Scott Lake and owner Robert Cole Jr.

Shake You Down was the second favorite at 7-2 but couldn't overcome his No. 2 post position.

"I had to use him a little down the backside," jockey Mike Luzzi said.

Margolis said he was confident after Cajun Beat won an early duel with Shake You Down.

"When they turned for home, I could see he had a lot of horse," the trainer said of Velasquez.

Sanan, who won the Juvenile last year with Vindication, co-owns Cajun Beat with Joe Iracane and his son John. The Iracanes own another horse with Rick Pitino and Dick Vitale. That horse's name is It's Awesome Baby.

Asked whether he had heard from Pitino after Saturday's win, Joe Iracane said, "He left a message on my machine that said I looked 25 pounds heavier on the television camera than I should. He said, 'If I were you, I would let Satish take the front and you take the back row.' That's what I heard from him.

"But, as far as It's Awesome Baby, we're having a lot of fun and hopefully we're lucky. I would rather be lucky than good anyway, and I've been pretty lucky."

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