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PUERTO MADERO USES LATE SURGE TO WIN DONN

The No. 12 post position proved to be more powerful than even Silver Charm.

The big gray horse never got close to the lead in the $500,000 Donn Handicap, leaving the door open for Chilean-bred Puerto Madero to chase down the leaders at the top of the homestretch for a 2 3/4 -length triumph Saturday.

Puerto Madero, the 7-2 second choice, overtook dueling leaders Sir Bear and Littlebitlively on the final turn and pulled away ahead of second-place Behrens. He covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:48 1-5.

"The race just worked out great for my colt," winning jockey Kent Desormeaux said. "He's been very alert all week, acting just like a cat. His feet haven't been touching the ground all week."

Silver Charm, whose odds fell to 4-5 by post time, also was carrying high weight of 126 pounds. The California entry was forced to stay wide leaving the gate and needed a closing charge to finish third by a nose in front of 99-1 shot Hanarsaan.

"This was a tough track to try and come from that far out," said Bob Baffert, Silver Charm's trainer. "He got dirt in his face the whole way. If this was a California race and we drew post 12, I wouldn't have run him."

Nine horses have started from the No. 12 post at a distance of a mile or more on Gulfstream's main track this meet. None has won.

The result marked only the second time in 21 starts that Silver Charm had not finished first or second. The other came in last July's San Diego Handicap, when he finished last in a field of five.

"It's a heck of a lot more than disappointing," Silver Charm owner Bob Lewis said.

The result dealt Silver Charm a setback in his quest to become thoroughbred racing's first $10 million horse. The $50,000 share for third still moved him past Alysheba into third place all-time with $6,683,006.

Puerto Madero, also based in California, won for the 11th time in 16 career starts but was something of an unknown because he has been in the United States less than a year. Only his past six races have been in this country, with three wins and two seconds.

Puerto Madero paid $10.40, $5.60 and $3.20 to bettors, while Behrens returned $9.80 and $4.80 and Silver Charm paid $2.40 to show.

Littlebitlively and local entry Sir Bear engaged in a speed duel through the first half-mile, while Puerto Madero sat just off the leaders.

Silver Charm was ninth after the first quarter-mile and fell as far as 10 lengths behind along the backstretch despite constant urging by jockey Gary Stevens.

"I told Gary not to use him too much early from that post," Baffert said. "It looked like all the outside horses went from the start and we were left with Plan B -- just sit behind horses and go when we could."

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