06/27/2001 11:00PM

Albarado to summer at Arlington

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Robby Albarado, second only to Pat Day at the current Churchill Downs spring meet, will ride primarily at Arlington Park this summer, his agent, Lenny Pike Jr., said Thursday.

Albarado, the leading rider at Arlington in 1996, rode at Saratoga in 1998-99 and at Del Mar last summer. Pike said Albarado would take about a week off after the Churchill meet ends July 8 and begin accepting mounts on a regular basis at Arlington on July 21.

Albarado, 27, is widely recognized as one of the top young jockeys in North America, with his mounts having earned over $8.3 million last year. Through Wednesday, he was second at the Churchill meet with 49 wins.

Pike said Albarado most likely would ride at Arlington until the Keeneland fall meet begins Oct. 5.

Rival claims do battle

When Sniffy and Kya hooked up for a rousing stretch duel in the eighth race Wednesday, they were carrying a little more than just their respective jockeys.

Sniffy was making her first start for Tom Amoss after having been claimed from Dale Romans. Kya was making her second start for Romans after having been claimed from Amoss.

Into the stretch, Kya, the 3-5 favorite with Day up, held a short lead. But Sniffy, a 4-1 shot ridden by Calvin Borel, moved up along the rail to draw even.

After a torrid drive, Sniffy won by a head.

"I thought beforehand that they were two very closely matched horses, and it proved to be that way," said Romans.

Niche marketing for Spiral

The Wednesday announcement that Lane's End Farm will sponsor Turfway Park's signature race - now called the Lane's End Spiral Stakes - ended an exhaustive search for a backer.

Turfway, owned by a three-way partnership led by the Keeneland Association, "had approached a lot of companies," said president Bob Elliston. "National, international, consumer brand, professional services, dot-coms, all across the board. We had a package that was appealing to many companies, but what we're finding is we really have to pull out a niche that a prospective sponsor needs to get to. With Lane's End, we're looking at a partnership that we believe will transcend the one day and that the entire racing industry can emulate."

Although the purse for the Lane's End Spiral has not been announced, Elliston said it likely would stay around $600,000. "We're confident it will remain one of the largest on the Triple Crown trail," he said.

Network introduces $100G promotion

This is the weekend that the Churchill Downs Simulcast Network introduces its "Big Ticket Weekends," a promotion to randomly award up to $100,000 to horseplayers.

Each Saturday and Sunday through July 29, anyone who has made a wager on a race at a Churchill-owned racetrack will be eligible to win $10,000. Each wager represents another opportunity to win.

A complete list of official rules can be found on Churchill's Web site at www.kentuckyderby.com.

* Terry Thompson, the leading rider at the current Prairie Meadows meet, will ride for a brief span early in the Ellis Park meet, which begins July 11 in Henderson, Ky. Former jockey Randy Romero will handle Thompson's business. Thompson will return to Prairie for the mixed-breed meet that starts July 21.