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HORSE RACING

Sharp Lisa Takes to Turf, Wins

April 23, 2006|Bob Mieszerski | Times Staff Writer

For the first time since 2000, the winner of the $200,000 Santa Barbara Handicap wasn't named Megahertz or Astra.

In only her second start on turf, Sharp Lisa, the 4-1 second choice, became a graded stakes winner on the surface, holding off 6-1 outsider Eternal Melody to win by a nose.

With jockey Corey Nakatani able to slow the pace to a crawl -- the first half was run in 49.68 seconds and the six furlongs in 1:15.03 -- Sharp Lisa was able to prevail in 2:02.17 for the 1 1/4 miles. Trained by Doug O'Neill, Sharp Lisa, a 4-year-old Dixieland Band filly, is owned by Paul Reddam, Mark Schlesinger and Pablo Suarez.

Eternal Melody, who finished 2 1/2 lengths clear of third-place finisher Cissy, was trying to give trainer Bobby Frankel and owner Michael Bello their fourth consecutive win in the Santa Barbara. They had won the last three with the now-retired Megahertz.

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O'Neill, who is going to be the leading trainer at the winter-spring meet for a second consecutive year, won the day's other stakes, taking the $109,400 San Simeon Handicap with Pure As Gold, who went off at 7-1.

The win in the Grade III race was the 11th stakes victory of the season for O'Neill.

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Favored Showing Up ($5) probably earned himself a spot in the Kentucky Derby on May 6 after remaining unbeaten with a victory in the $325,000 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland.

In his first race around two turns, the 3-year-old Strategic Mission colt swung to the outside in the stretch under jockey Cornelio Velasquez and rallied to defeat Gotham upsetter Like Now and eight others in the Grade II stakes race. Showing Up ran the 1 1/16 miles in 1:46.42 while winning by 1 1/4 lengths.

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It was not a good day for returning Eclipse Award winners.

Several hours after Smuggler, the 3-year-old filly champion of 2005, finished last in her first start of the year in the $155,400 Bed O'Roses Breeders' Cup at Aqueduct, Lost In The Fog, the 2005 champion sprinter, had to settle for second behind Carthage in the $100,000 Golden Gate Sprint Handicap at Golden Gate Fields.

Owned by a partnership that includes trainer Art Sherman, Carthage, a 6-year-old Smoke Glacken gelding, won his fourth in a row. Ridden by Dennis Carr, the 7-5 second choice ran the six furlongs in 1:09.08. The loss was the second for Lost In The Fog, who began his career with 10 consecutive victories.

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Trainer Noble Threewitt, 95, won his first race at Santa Anita since Jan. 8, 2003, when Threeatonce took the sixth on Saturday.

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