'Ghost' Gets A Chance in Sports Page 'Cap

(from Belmont Park report)
Gotaghostofachance is out to turn the tables on Captain Squire in Saturday's $250,000 Emirates Airline Sport Page Handicap (gr. III) after finishing a narrow fourth to him in the Ancient Title at Oak Tree Oct. 8. But trainer Roger Stein says that's not the reason he brought the gelding to Belmont Park on Breeders' Cup day.

"It's not the prestige or the money. I want to show everyone how good this horse is and he deserves to run in front of a big crowd." Stein said. "That'll be a day everyone is watching."

They sure will.

The seven-furlong Sport Page drew a deep field of 10 runners. Grade I winner Captain Squire, one of four Californian invaders, is the likely favorite for trainer Jeff Mullins.

Captain Squire was resolute in winning the Ancient Title, but Gotaghostofachance ran well too, finishing gamely in the middle of the track. He was beaten only 1 1/2 lengths. Stein believes its his turn for Breeders' Cup Day glory Saturday.

"He's got to go out there and do it, but I think he's a better horse than Captain Squire," Stein said. "I had been training him to run in the (nine-furlong) Goodwood, but he had a little setback and he couldn't make the race. Going into the Ancient Title, he had been trained to go long. I thought he ran great."

Gotaghostofachance has started just twice under Stein. Six weeks before the Ancient Title, the gelding ran well, finishing second, three quarters of a length behind Imperialism in the Pat O'Brien Handicap (gr. II) at Del Mar. Imperialism is running in Saturday's $1 million TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I).

"I really believe this is a good horse and good horses set themselves apart," Stein said of Gotaghostofachance, who began his career on the East Coast. "He does things so easy."

Silver Wagon has picked up minor awards in three grade I races this year. He was second to 2004 Horse of the Year Ghostzapper in the Metropolitan Handicap, third to Mass Media in the Forego and fourth behind Breeders' Cup Sprint hopeful Taste of Paradise in the Vosburgh. Silver Wagon is a major off-the-pace threat for all the money.

The six-year-old Captain Squire is undefeated in a pair of starts since returning from a 14-month layoff, a layoff caused by two leg surgeries. He was unbelievably game in his aforementioned Ancient Title win. After warring it on the lead through fractions of :21 and :43 1/5, he rallied at the rail after being passed in the stretch. Most of Captain Squire's success has come at six furlongs, but he does own a victory at seven furlongs. Trainer Jeff Mullins will also run Buzzard's Bay in the Discovery and Choctaw Nation in the Breeders' Cup Classic Saturday.

$250,000-added Emirates Airline Sport Page Handicap (gr. III), 3 & up, 7 furlongs
1. Silver Wagon, Ralph Ziadie, Jerry Bailey, 118
2. Value Plus, Todd Pletcher, John Velazquez, 114
3. Joey P., Frank Costa, Joe Bravo, 112
4. Brand Name, Wesley Ward, Patrick Valenzuela, 110
5. Grand Reward, Wayne Lukas, Rafael Bejarano, 114
6. Gotaghostofachance, Roger Stein, Jon Court, 118
7. Voodoo, Jimmy Jerkens, Mike Smith, 113
8. Captain Squire, Jeff Mullins, Alex Solis, 121
9. Wild Tale, Mike Dini, Mark Guidry, 113
10. Hasty Kris, John Sadler, Garrett Gomez, 116