Vosburgh S. (gr. I)

(gr. I , 6f ,)

PICO CENTRAL (BRZ) (DK B/ h, 124 lb) $300,000
Spend a Buck —Sheila Purple (BRZ) , by Purple Mountain
B—Haras Fronteira P.A.P., BRZ.; O—Gary A. Tanaka; T—Paulo H. Lobo

Voodoo (CH g, 124 lb) $100,000
Petionville —Slide Show , by Slewacide
B—Everest Stables Inc., KY.; O—Moore, Susan and John; T—James A. Jerkens

Speightstown (CH h, 124 lb) $50,000
Gone West —Silken Cat , by Storm Cat
B—Marie D. Jones, KY.; O—Melnyk, Eugene and Laura; T—Todd A. Pletcher

Margins: 4, ½, head. Others: Cajun Beat 124($25,000) , Watchem Smokey 124($15,000) . Winning Jockey, Victor Espinoza.

Pico Central, a champion sprinter in his native Brazil, took a major step toward champion sprint honors in North America with a victory in the Oct. 2 Vosburgh Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park by a widening four lengths. The triumph, his first at six furlongs in North America, goes well with earlier wins in this year’s Carter (gr. I) and San Carlos (gr. II) Handicaps, both at seven furlongs, and the mile Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I). Owner Gary Tanaka bought him privately following the San Carlos in March.

Tanaka, who makes it a practice of buying established horses in training rather than young horses, won a French group II stakes the same afternoon as the Vosburgh. His Touch of Land captured the Prix Dollar Casino Barriere de Montreux. Touch of Land won the 33 Grosser Mercedes-Benz-Preis (Ger-II) for Tanaka in May.

Tanaka hasn’t given a thumbs-up yet to the Oct. 30 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I) with Pico Central. Tanaka, who would have to supplement Pico Central, has supported the Breeders’ Cup in a big way, but is still looking for his first winner. The best he has done with 10 previous starters, including one in partnership, is finish third with Docksider in the 1999 Mile (gr. IT) and with Falcon Flight in the 2002 Turf (gr. IT).

Tanaka, a London-based financial businessman, won earlier stakes this year with Star Parade and Sarafan. The former, an Argentine-bred import, captured this year’s Santa Maria (gr. I) and Milady Breeders’ Cup (gr. I) Handicaps and placed in the Apple Blossom (gr. I), Santa Margarita Invitational (gr. I), and Vanity (gr. I) Handicaps.

Sarafan won the restricted Escondido Handicap on grass in August and almost made it two in a row, but was beaten a neck in the Del Mar Handicap (gr. IIT) the end of the month.

The Vosburgh, first run in 1940, was contested at seven furlongs through 2002, then at 61/2 furlongs last year. It was run under handicap conditions many of those years and several winners toted 130 pounds or more. With Pleasure, in 1947, carried 132 pounds to victory, and Bold Ruler won with 130 pounds in 1957. Dr. Fager won his second of two consecutive runnings (1967-68) with 139 pounds, and Forego scored in 1973 with 131 pounds.

Spend a Buck, sire of Pico Central, has sired 33 stakes winners, including additional 2004 stakes winners Hard Buck (gr. IT) and Heivocceai (in Brazil). Spend a Buck died in November of 2002 while standing at Haras Bage do Sul in Brazil.—D.S.