05/01/2003 12:00AM

Acorn next for Final Round

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Final Round earned a berth in the Acorn Stakes when circling the field and going on to a length victory in the $111,800 La Troienne Stakes at Churchill Downs.

Pounded down to 6-5 favoritism in a field of six fillies, Final Round was confidently ridden by Jerry Bailey when dropping back to last during the early running of the Grade 3 La Troienne. Always clear while gradually making up ground, Final Round surged past Fast Cookie nearing the sixteenth pole, then outfinished Lovely Sage when completing seven furlongs in 1:22.13 over a fast track.

Fast Cookie wound up third, another 1 1/4 lengths behind Lovely Sage, followed by Real Bear, Just Bill Me, and Crow Jane. Stellar, who ran third in a Wednesday allowance race, was an early scratch.

Final Round, owned by G. Watts Humphrey and trained by Rusty Arnold, returned $4.40 with her third victory from seven career starts. The Acorn, a one-mile, Grade 1 race to be run the day before the June 7 Belmont Stakes, is her probable next start, said Arnold.

"I don't think distance would be a problem with her," said Arnold. "I don't think she is a sprinter."

Final Round is by Storm Cat out of the Private Account mare Profit Column. After winning two of her first three starts, including a win in the Junior Champion at Monmouth last September, she was defeated in her last three starts, including back-to-back one-turn races at Gulfstream Park this winter.

Lovely Sage got a terrific rail trip under Calvin Borel but was second best.

The 2-3 exacta paid $21.80 and the 2-3-6 trifecta paid $97.40.

Jockey Pat Day, who has been bothered by back spasms in recent days, was named to ride Final Round, but Bailey got the mount when Day took off all mounts Thursday. Bailey also won the two previous races on the Thursday card, both rich allowances, when guiding Unbridled Vision and El Gran Papa to come-from-behind triumphs.