Startac Runs Down Volponi in Belmont Breeders' Cup

Startac scraped the hedge down the stretch to nab favored Volponi in the closing yards of Saturday's Belmont Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIT) at 1 1/8-mile on the turf.

Ridden by Jerry Bailey, the Allen Paulson Living Trust-owned 4-year-old son of Theatrical ended a seven-race losing streak in a time of 1:46 3/5.

"I had a great trip," said Bailey. "I was tucked inside and was able to save ground. I thought I had some options. If Jose (Santos on Volponi) had gone inside, I had the room to angle outside. But
there was enough room for me inside."

Santos, on Volponi, said, "He tried hard. We had no excuses. I was going to sit behind (Spruce Run), but that horse got out and I decided to take the lead. He was game."

Trained by Bill Mott, Startac relaxed in fourth for most of the trip as Volponi, the 4-5 favorite, set the fractions under slight pressure from Spruce Run and El Gran Papa. Bailey found room along the hedge and Startac responded to win by 3/4-length.

Startac was a troubled fifth in the Sword Dancer (gr. IT) in his most recent race.

"We're delighted," said Mott. "Sounds like everything went according to plan. He had some tough trips over the summer."

Startac paid $6.50, $2.80 and $21.0. Volponi returned $2.30 and $2.10. Dr. Kashnikow paid $2.10 for the show.

 (Chart, Equibase)