El Kabeir wins Big A's Jerome

NEW YORK (AP) El Kabeir easily won the $200,000 Jerome Stakes Saturday at Aqueduct, one of the first major prep races of the new year leading to the Kentucky Derby.

After a brief bobble at the break, El Kabeir settled right behind the leaders and rolled home on a three-wide move as the 7-5 favorite to beat Nasa by 4 3/4 lengths. The victory earned the gray colt 10 qualifying points toward a berth in the Derby.

It was the second consecutive stakes win for El Kabeir following his victory by a head in the Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs in late November.

''It's a long way away, but as long as he stays healthy, we have a runner here,'' trainer John Terranova said of the Derby. ''Let's hope we continue on this path.''

Chuckie Lopez was the rider, substituting for Calvin Borel who missed the assignment due to a death in the family.

El Kabeir paid $4.90, $3.20 and $2.60. Nasa returned $4.60 and $4.20 while General Bellamy paid $6 to show.

The time was 1:44.69 for the a mile, 70 yards on the track rated good.

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