Trainer Christophe Clement's bid for a fourth straight win in the 1 1/2-mile Orchid Handicap (gr. IIT) dimmed when Moon Queen, winner of The Very One Handicap (gr. IIIT) last month, was forced to the sidelines with a suspensory injury. No problem, said the trainer, who plucked from his bench a Kentucky-bred product of Calumet Farm named Julie Jalouse to take the 2002 edition on March 24 by a neck over Sweetest Thing. Julie Jalouse's rider Jose Santos had to endure a long-investigated claim of foul lodged by Manny Aguilar, the rider of Jennasietta. The winning time was 2:25.89. Macho Uno, the juvenile champion of 2000 and the fourth-place finisher in last year's Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I), made his 4-year-old debut a winning one with a half-length score in a money-allowance race on the Pan American undercard. Trainer Joe Orseno indicated the Frank Stronach homebred would spend 2002 "in pretty much a New York campaign" before another Breeders' Cup run. By Scott Davis (Charts, Equibase)
Deeliteful Irving's win in Gulfstream's Pan American Handicap (gr. IIT) on March 23 was what trainer Todd Pletcher hoped for, but it wasn't what he expected. "It was an oddly run race," he said, noting the gaping margins that separated the front-runners, Backatitagain and Eltawaasul, from each other and the remainder of the field early in the race. While trainer Larry Bates watched in horror, Backatitagain dragged jockey Gary Boulanger to an eight-length lead after six furlongs, with Eltawaasul another six lengths clear of the field. Jockey Chris DeCarlo, meanwhile, having been warned by Pletcher of his colt's propensity for rankness, was sitting chilly on Deeliteful Irving. He moved the 4-year-old into a clear third by the half-mile pole and whizzed inside Eltawaasul three-furlongs out, then inhaled the leg-weary Backatitagain rounding the third turn. Though heavy favorite Cetewayo briefly got to within a length, Deeliteful Irving leveled off and hit the wire two lengths clear, timed in 2:24.14. The Pan American was the first graded stakes victory for the Anstu Stables' homebred who is the second foal produced from Irving's Girl. The 12-year-old Badger Land mare's first foal was the graded stakes winner Irving's Baby.