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Sunday, August 3, 1997 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Horse Racing -- Will's Way Wins Whitney By A Nose

AP

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Will's Way, ridden by Jerry Bailey, came from just off the pace to score by a nose over Formal Gold in the $350,000 Whitney Handicap at Saratoga.

Formal Gold, who took the lead at the start and narrowly missed holding onto it at the end, was 6 1/2 lengths ahead of the favorite, Skip Away, who failed to pose a serious threat at any point yesterday. Circle of Light, Editor's Note and Pyramid Peak completed the order of finish.

Will's Way, defeated by Skip Away in each of their past two meetings at Suffolk Downs and Belmont Park, rediscovered the form with which he proved the better of the two in last year's Travers.

Will's Way covered 1 1/8 miles on a fast track in 1:48 1/5, earning $210,000 for William Clifton and Rudlein Stable with his second victory in four starts this year and his first graded stakes victory since the Travers.

"I can honestly say that I knew that he was going to run this good," winning trainer James Bond said. "Coming into the race, he was doing outstanding and he was training very well.

"He really loves Saratoga and he loves this track. Maybe Skip Away didn't take a liking to this track but Will's Way proved to everyone that last year's win in the Travers was definitely no fluke."

Bailey rode five winners yesterday, joining a select group made up of Julie Krone, Angel Cordero, Ron Turcotte and Mike Smith. No rider has won six in a day at Saratoga.

ESCENA WINS RAMONA HANDICAP

DEL MAR, Calif. - Escena, a filly from the East Coast, took the lead in the upper stretch and held off Real Connection by three-quarters of a length in the $300,000 Ramona Handicap at Del Mar.

Escena, ridden by Pat Day, covered 1 1/8 miles of turf in 1:49 4/5, besting a field of seven older fillies and mares. Different, the 7-5 favorite, finished 1 1/4 lengths behind Real Connection to take third.

Escena's victory in her West Coast debut, coming before a Del Mar crowd of 19,552, was the sixth in 17 lifetime starts for the 4-year-old, who is trained by Bill Mott. Escena is bred and owned by Allen Paulson.

FLORES' CONDITION UPGRADED TO FAIR

Jockey David Flores has improved to fair condition a day after he suffered a chipped disk in his back and a separated shoulder when his horse fell during a race at Del Mar. His agent, Jim Pegram, said Flores could be out six to eight weeks.

Flores was injured when his mount, Finder's Fortune, clipped the heels of another horse, Lissitki, and fell in the stretch during Friday's fifth race.

Flores had been scheduled to ride Anet in today's $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park.

NOTE

-- Malabar Man showed why he's the colt to beat in the $1 million Hambletonian final, easily winning his elimination for trotting's biggest race at the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, N.J. Bowlin For Dollars and Yankee Glide won the other two $66,667 eliminations, which determined the 10 finalists for next Saturday's race.

Copyright (c) 1997 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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