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Tates Creek, 68-1 Master Belt Win Closing Day Features at Oak Tree

November 3, 2002
Santa Anita Press Release

ARCADIA, Calif. (Nov. 3) - Closing furiously under Jerry Bailey on the inside, Tates Creek caught 11-10 favorite Voodoo Dancer in the final strides to win the $200,000 Las Palmas Handicap (GII) by a neck as Oak Tree's 34th season of racing at Santa Anita Park came to a close on Sunday.

Master Belt, a New Zealand-bred gelding making his United States debut, registered a $138.40 upset in the $111,700 Morvich Handicap (GIII), co-feature on the closing-day program. It was the biggest win payoff of the meeting.
Tates Creek, a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Rahy trained by Bobby Frankel, tracked Voodoo Dancer in second after the favorite swept to the lead under Corey Nakatani near the 3/8 marker. Voodoo Dancer, high weight under 121 pounds, opened up a two-length lead into the stretch while racing well out from the rail. But Bailey was patient and elected to go inside, where Tates Creek wore down Voodoo Dancer in the last yards.

Magic Mission finished third in the 1 1/8-mile turf race for fillies and mares, 1 1/2 lengths behind Voodoo Dancer and a neck in front of Crazy Ensign. I'm The Business, Noches De Rosa, Tour Charmant and Desiraes My Candy completed the order of finish. Surya and Polaire were scratched.

"I really thought we'd be in front (turning for home)," Frankel said, "but that's the way Jerry wanted it. She's so game, this filly; she's a great little filly. She tries her heart out."

Added Bailey: "The other filly (Voodoo Dancer) moved kind of quick and I really was kind of stuck, so I didn't go with her. I just thought if my filly had the same kind of kick going a mile and an eighth that she had going a mile, I might be able to run Voodoo Dancer down."

It was the eighth win from 12 starts for Tates Creek, who earned $120,000 for owners Juddmonte Farms. Time over a firm course was 1:47.69 under 120 pounds.

Master Belt, ridden by Tyler Baze and trained by Simon Bray for owner Tom Hamilton of Springfield, Ky., rallied nine-wide through the stretch in the about 6 1/2-furlong test on a firm turf course, to win by a neck under 114 pounds.

I Love Silver, ridden by Bailey, won a three-way photo for second, edging Kachamandi by a head. Sarafan, prepping for the Japan Cup on Nov. 23, was a nose further back in fourth under Nakatani.

El Cielo, the 2-1 favorite and winner of the last two runnings of the Morvich, finished fifth, followed by Macward, Lookn East, Is It True Mex, F J's Pace and Furtivo.

Master Belt, a gelded son of Masterclass, earned $67,020 for his sixth victory from 20 career starts.

"The horse came to me from New Zealand back in April," Bray said, "and we just gave him a chance to adjust. We felt he was going to fire his best shot today, and that's why we took a chance in the Morvich. I'd be lying if I said I thought he could win-I was going to be happy with third or fourth. But he has been training extremely well, and he is a Group 1 winner, albeit in New Zealand, but that means something."

F J's Pace set the pace until the head of the stretch, with fractions of :21.23, :43.06 and 1:06.24. Then the closers mounted their charge. Only 3 1/2 lengths separated the first eight finishers in the field of 10.

Laffit Pincay Jr. won his third consecutive Oak Tree riding title, winning 27 races, while Jack Carava captured his first Oak Tree training crown with 14 winners.

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