09/06/2006 11:00PM

After Market in tough Kent

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The undefeated After Market goes after win number five in the $500,000 Kent Breeders' Cup Stakes on Saturday at Delaware Park, but the field is talented and extremely deep, easily the toughest he has faced.

A total of 12 runners, plus two also-eligibles, were jammed into the Grade 3 Kent for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles on the turf.

"You put up a half-million dollars and people are going to show up," said After Market's trainer, Bill Mott.

The race originally was scheduled for last Saturday, but was postponed a week because of Tropical Storm Ernesto.

Two runners were scratched in the interim - no-hopers Sir Classic Chris and Act of God. Rock Lobster, who was cross-entered in - and won - the Saranac last Sunday at Saratoga, was expected to scratch. But on Thursday, Rock Lobster's trainer, Michael Dickinson, told the racing office he still might run.

After Market last ran in the Grade 2 Hall of Fame at Saratoga on Aug. 7 as the 7-5 favorite, winning his fourth straight race, all in New York and all on the grass.

After Market is the only Grade 2 winner in the Kent. He also comes in with the top last-out Beyer Speed Figure (98) and the top Beyer overall (100).

"How good is he? Well, he hasn't met the one to take away his crown yet," Mott said.

The one Kent runner with higher earnings on the turf than After Market is Kip Deville, trained by Richard Dutrow Jr. Most of Kip Deville's stash came in a second-place finish behind budding star Showing Up in the $1 million Colonial Turf Cup in June. Kip Deville beat 12 horses that day.

Dutrow said he considered running Kip Deville in the Travers at Saratoga, but chose the Kent because it's on grass.

Kip Deville is the speed of the race and will likely have the lead turning for home.

The live longshots are Carnera (three turf wins and a 97 Beyer), Diabolical (2 wins in 4 turf starts and two triple-digit Beyers on dirt), and Spider Power (in-the-money finishes in two Grade 2's on turf).

Mercurius, from the barn of Todd Pletcher, has some hope, as does Brilliant, beaten 2 3/4 lengths by After Market in the Hall of Fame last out.

After Market will break from a tough outside post, which worries Mott a lot. But his bigger concern is the sheer size of the field.

"To win a race like this, you've got to have the horse," he said. "But you also need the trip."