Sabertooth Zips to Victory in World Record Time

Edited Emerald Downs release
Sabertooth made a majestic return to the winner's circle by setting a world record of 1:13 for 6 1/2 furlongs in winning the $40,000 FSN Handicap Sunday at Emerald Downs.

Running from the first post and ridden by Nathan Chaves, the 2002 Longacres Mile winner set blistering fractions of 21 4/5 seconds for the first quarter and 43 1/5 seconds for the half before hitting the three-quarter mile mark in a virtually unheard of 1:06 2/5. The 7-year-old son of Petersburg finished the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:13, breaking the world record by one-fifth of a second, set by Lucky Forever at Hollywood Park May 20, 1995.

The FSN Handicap was Sabertooth's second start off a 19-month lay-after recovering from leg problems.

"It felt like he was going easy," Chaves said. "He didn't even feel like he was going that fast at all. This is really a nice horse. I think he's even better than a couple years ago."

Trainer Jim Penney said the horse has been a little more relaxed and seasoned since his return.

"He ran very well," Penney said. "He's an easier horse to train now. Each race, with a horse like this, is paramount."

Chaves rode the gelding to the front out of the gate and held off Best on Tap, who held the Emerald Downs' track record for 6 1/2 furlongs until Sunday. In his first outing of the year, Sabertooth finished second in the Seattle Handicap.

"In 2003 we never thought he'd run again," owner Bob Sparling said. "He seemed to heal himself in the pasture. I never dreamt it could happen."

Sabertooth, the race favorite, paid $3.80, $2.80 and $2.60. Best On Tap paid $6.40 and $5.20, while Random Memo paid $7.20.