SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- Roses in May is still perfect in 2004, by a nose.
Losing the lead to Perfect Drift with about 100 yards to go, Roses in May stuck his nose in front in the final strides and won the Whitney Handicap at Saratoga yesterday.
Roses in May, a 4-year-old colt who missed last year's Kentucky Derby and didn't have a chance to live up to his name, has won all four of his starts this year.
A son of Devil His Due, Roses in May defeated a formidable field of nine older horses, including favorites Peace Rules and Perfect Drift.
Ridden by Edgar Prado, Roses in May is now on track to run in the Breeders' Cup Classic Oct. 30 at Lone Star Park in Texas.
Roses in May covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.54, a solid time after Yessirgeneralsir set a blistering pace of 22.64 seconds for the first quarter mile, 45.25 for the half, and 1:08.92 for three-quarters. When the field turned for home, Yessirgeneralsir wilted, and Roses in May, who remained off the pace throughout, took the lead. Perfect Drift, ridden by Pat Day, moved up on the outside, then took the lead briefly but couldn't hold off the gallant Roses in May in a thrilling finish.
A big weekend at Saratoga continues today with The Cliff's Edge the horse to beat in the Jim Dandy Stakes, a prep for the Travers Aug. 28. Tomorrow, trainer Shug McGaughey, jockey Kent Desormeaux, and horses Skip Away and Flawlessly will be inducted into racing's Hall of Fame.
Roses in May, an 8-1 choice of the crowd of 33,776, paid $16.80, $7.90, and $5.40, while Perfect Drift returned $5 and $3.30. Bowman's Band paid $5.10 to show.
Sarava was fourth, followed by Gygistar, Peace Rules, Newfoundland, Yessirgeneralsir, and Seattle Fitz.
Earlier, Bwana Charlie stormed from last to first and won the six-furlong Amsterdam Stakes for 3-year-olds by three-quarters of a length over favorite Pomeroy.
Ridden by Shane Sellers, Bwana Charlie paid $9.40, $4, and $2.80. Pomeroy, with Prado in the irons, returned $3.30 and $2.60 and Weigelia was $3.30 to show.