SOUTH OZONE PARK, N.Y. -- J Be K was recognized as the fastest horse in the Grade III, $150,000 Bay Shore Stakes yesterday at Aqueduct Racetrack and proved it over the seven-furlong race, leading from start to finish.
But while other horses fell further behind the streaking son of Silver Deputy, Gattopardo, the Laurel Park-based 3-year-old kept digging, climbing from fourth to second, five lengths back.
"I couldn't sleep last night, I was so excited about this race," said Gattopardo's owner Mike Ueltzen. "Of course, I would have liked to have won. You always want to win. But what delights me is that he never quit. He did everything he could, and when it came time to run he dug in and showed his class."
In seven career starts, Gattopardo has always finished first or second. Yesterday, trainer Tim Tullock said he and Ueltzen will sit down and plot the horse's future.
"The Preakness is still on the table," the trainer said. "He didn't embarrass himself today. The horse ran super."
The 4-year-old Bustin Stones, sired by City Zip, is now 6-for-6 in his career after beating nine other horses in the $300,000 Grade I Carter Handicap.
He beat Executive Fleet to the finish by a half-length under the guidance of jockey Edgar Prado.
"It's been a super day," said Prado, who won three races yesterday. "It's good to let everyone know I am back in New York. My horse ran great."
Bustin Stones' trainer Bruce Levine said the horse has been in battles before and that he is now "as game as game can be. He runs everywhere."
The horse has had knee surgery, but since his recovery has won three stakes, including the Grade II General George at Laurel Park in February.
Not in the rough
Tale of Ekati, who won the Wood Memorial, is named for the Ekati Mine, one of the world's largest diamond mines, which was found about 124 miles south of the Arctic Circle in 1991 by the horse's owner, Charles Fipke.
"I'm still in a daze," Fipke said of his horse's win, worth $450,000. "This is wonderful. Of course, he had to beat a great horse, War Pass . . . Winning this race is like finding that first diamond, that kind of excitement."
After Prado had ridden Tale of Ekati to a half-length victory over War Pass, the jockey said he was surprised by War Pass' resolve.
"I thought I had him at the three-eighths pole," Prado said. "But he refused to give up."
The determination was surprisIng, given War Pass had failed to compete three weeks ago in the Tampa Bay Derby and lost by more than 27 lengths.