FAIR HILL, MD., OCT. 31 -- American steeplchase champion Flatterer has won every steeplechase stakes race in this country except the richest; the $250,000 Breeders' Cup Steeplechase.
Last year a muscle spasm the night before forced Flatterer out of the race. This year he made it to the course but suffered a bowed tendon while in contention and had to be pulled out.
"He'll be retired now," said owner/trainer Jonathan Sheppard. "He's been very good to us. It would be a shame to run him any more."
With Flatterer out, French-bred and -owned Gacko won the race by 8 3/4 lengths, heading an international field of 10 horses. The crowd of 19,000 bet a total of $29,352 on the race. Gacko paid $15.60 to win.
"No horse could have beaten mine today, even Flatterer," said Roger Duchene, Gacko's jockey. "He wasn't afraid of any other horse."
Gacko, who is one of the leading steeplechase horses in France, also ran in last year's inaugural Breeders' Cup Steeplechase but finished sixth.
"This year he was as cool as could be," said trainer Xavier Guigano. "This time we brought another horse to train with him, because he was nervous last year. It really helped him."
Gacko, a 6-year-old gelding, won $125,000 for his owner Guiseppe Campanella, who lives in Paris and does business in Africa. Campanella also ran a horse in the race after the Breeders' Cup Steeplechase, but it failed to finish in the money.
Inlander finished second in the 2 5/8-mile race, a head in front of Gateshead.
Janet Elliot, who trained last year's Breeders' Cup Steeplechase winner, Census, won two races today. Planned Parents, whom she trains for Margaret Sauderf, won the first race, an amateur turf race. Elliot's own horse, Equity Kicker, won the sixth, a nonwinners of two claiming hurdle race.
Eva Dahlgren of Middleburg won the day's only timber race on her horse Ahwaz.