09/10/2002 11:00PM

After one dud, Sky Terrace shortens up

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - It's back to basics Saturday for Sky Terrace. He was tested at a distance in July but faltered, so eight weeks later, trainer Vickie Foley turns Sky Terrace back to six furlongs in the $150,000 Kentucky Cup Sprint.

"I've freshened him up and got him feeling good again," Foley said Wednesday at her Churchill Downs base. "I thought this race at Turfway was as good a spot as any for him to come back in."

The Sprint, a Grade 2 race that has become a haven for top 3-year-old sprinters in recent years, is the comeback race for Sky Terrace, who earlier this year established himself as a solid middle-distance horse by winning twice at a mile, including the Derby Trial. The KC Sprint is one of five stakes to be run Saturday at Turfway Park in Florence, Ky.

"He had a little heat stroke in his last start," said Foley, referring to the July 20 Regaey Island, a 1 1/16-mile turf race at Ellis Park. "It was about 100 degrees that day, and obviously he didn't care too much for that."

Sky Terrace finished a distant fourth in one of the worst races of his 10-race career.

Sky Terrace figures to be one of the favorites under Lonnie Meche in the Sprint. The rest of the very competitive field is expected to include Bold Truth, Day Trader, Ecstatic, Flying Free, Matanzas Creek, Premier Performer, Relentless Seller, Richest Half, Shah Jehan, and Still Be Smokin'.

Even though restricted to 3-year-olds, the Sprint has become a key prep for the Breeders' Cup since its 1994 inception, having been won by such standouts as Appealing Skier (1996), Reraise (1998), Caller One (2000), and Snow Ridge (2001).

Eight probable for Classic

Turfway stakes coordinator Randy Wehrman said that he expected eight horses to pass the entry box when post positions were drawn Wednesday for the signature race of the Kentucky Cup series, the $400,000 Classic.

With weights and riders, this is the prospective lineup: Dollar Bill, 117 pounds, Pat Day; Tenpins, 116, Robby Albarado; Pure Prize, 115, Mike Smith; Abreeze, 114, Richard Migliore; There's Zealous, 114, Kent Desormeaux; Generous Rosi, 113, Mark Guidry; Hero's Tribute, 113, Craig Perret; and Nothing Flat, 112, Victor Espinoza.

Wehrman said the trainers of several other horses who were being considered for the 1 1/8-mile, Grade 2 Classic informed him that they most likely would not enter.

Following in Spain's footsteps?

The points of comparison are merely coincidental, but the connections of Magic Storm surely don't mind hearing them.

Two years ago, Spain was in the midst of reviving her sputtering career for D. Wayne Lukas when she defeated older fillies and mares in the Turfway Breeders' Cup. Spain went on to win the Breeders' Cup Distaff later that fall, and by the time she retired two months ago, she was the all-time leading filly-mare earner in North American racing history.

Like Spain before her, Magic Storm won the Monmouth Oaks for Lukas and will face older rivals Saturday in the $200,000 Turfway BC, a Grade 3 race at 1 1/16 miles.

"We're just trying to win a race," said Lukas assistant Mike Maker. "Magic Storm has been getting better and better, especially now that she's running route distances, and we think this race at Turfway should suit her perfectly."

Trip, the defending Turfway BC champion, is the likely favorite with Pat Day to ride. The other probables are Happily Unbridled, Mystic Lady, Red n'Gold, Seven Four Seven, and Softly.

No standout in Juvenile Fillies

With a prospective field of nine but no clear-cut favorite, the $100,000 Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies should be one of several good betting races in the series.

Atlantic Ocean, trained by Bob Baffert, and Ruby's Reception, a winner in 3 of 4 career starts, probably will take a fair amount of action before the one-mile race. Others likely to run are Beautiful Treasure, Dance Hall Girl, Devil at the Wire, Glorious Miss, Jodys Deelite, Mymich, and Westerly Breeze.

Air Marshall, who figured as one of the favorites off a recent Saratoga maiden win for Shug McGaughey, was not on a Wednesday charter flight from New York.