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Monday, Sept. 30, 2002

Believe captures Sprinters Stakes

Staff writer

NIIGATA -- Believe, it's what all racing fans do when they put their money down on a horse for the win and Sunday the money was well-placed on a filly by that very name.

Race favorite Believe, by Sunday Silence out of Great Christine, gave the late great stallion his first Grade I short-distance title with a half-length win of the 1,200-meter Sprinters Stakes at Niigata Racecourse.

The 4-year-old Believe, as one of two fillies in the field of 11, lined up with Shonan Kampf and Admire Cozzene about 200 meters out for a crowd-thrilling, three-way battle in Niigata's first Grade I ever.

Taking the lead just past the 100-meter mark Believe held her ground for her fourth-straight -- and first top-level -- victory.

Second pick Admire Cozzene bumped third choice Shonan Kampf into third place with five strides to go, partially avenging his loss in the spring's main sprint event, the Takamatsunomiya Memorial.

Yutaka Take, who had just returned from France and was riding Believe for the first time received a rousing chant of "Yu-ta-ka, Yu-ta-ka," from the fans as he treated them to a pass before the stands. "I was really lucky to have gotten a ride on such a good horse so soon after being back.

And it was great to have been able to hold on for the win in this first at Niigata," Take said.

Believe, who became the first female to beat the boys in a Grade I race since Air Groove five years ago, was bred at Uemizu Bokujo in Hokkaido's Mukawa. She improved her record to eight wins in 20 races with over 262 million yen in prize money for owner Koji Maeda. Believe is trained by the Ritto-based Shigeki Matsumoto.

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