07/10/2003 11:00PM

Apprentice beat only one, but it was enough

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HENDERSON, Ky. - It is quite common for an apprentice rider to get doused by other jockeys with all types of liquids and foreign substances after the first victory of his career.

But it is extraordinary for an apprentice to get that first career win in what essentially is a match race.

Dallas King, 16, notched his first career win Thursday at Ellis Park when Heldinhighesteem led all the way to defeat If You Believe in the third race, which was reduced from nine to just two starters by scratches after soggy conditions forced the maiden claiming race from the turf to the main track.

"They got me with water and mustard and I don't know what else," King said. "All I know is it wouldn't come out of my hair."

The mount on Heldinhighesteem was the 14th of King's career. Two mounts later, King registered his second victory when Crafty Lover defeated 10 rivals in the sixth race.

"The match race was the best because it was my first win," King said. "I actually had to work a little bit harder in my second one."

King, who is represented by the agent known only as Clarence, is from Lebanon, Ky., located some 75 miles southeast of Louisville. King's father was in attendance Thursday, but his mother was at work in Lebanon, a small town that also has produced the jockey Mark Johnston.

Ellis publicist and race-caller Luke Kruytbosch said that after searching track archives, it was determined that a two-horse race had never been run at Ellis, which was built in 1922. At the end of his race call, Kruytbosch announced: "It's not War Admiral and Seabiscuit, but . . ."

Race broadcast woes

Kruytbosch said a mechanical problem with the main camera has caused problems for simulcast viewers and prompted numerous complaints and phone calls. Charlson Broadcasting Technologies is the in-house television and graphics contractor for the track.

"We've been told that Charlson intends to fix the problem immediately," Kruytbosch said.

On many occasions during the first two days of the meet, the camera swung wildly off its intended target before finally refocusing on the race in progress, leaving viewers dazed and annoyed.

Coa gets days, appeals

Jockey Danny Coa has been suspended seven calendar days for his ride in the second race here Wednesday, but has filed an appeal and will allowed to ride while it is pending. Coa's mount, Evening n' Paris, was disqualified from first and placed second for lugging in and impeding Zolishka, who was awarded the win.

Coa rode three winners on the first two Ellis programs.

Butler okay after spill

Jockey Dean Butler was fortunate to escape injury in the seventh race Thursday. His mount, Post the Bail, had taken the lead in deep stretch when he suddenly broke down, throwing Butler to the track. Butler was back up on his feet within seconds.

Butler had been back in action for only a few days after missing three weeks with a deep shoulder bruise suffered in a June 9 training accident at Churchill Downs.

Post the Bail, a 3-year-old maiden colt trained by Dale Romans, was euthanized.

Woods making progress

Family members said that David Woods, the Louisville-based farrier who underwent eight hours of emergency surgery July 3 after suffering an aortic aneurysm and mild stroke, has made remarkable progress in his recovery and could be released from Jewish Hospital to begin rehabilitation within the next week or so.

Woods, 49, still has partial paralysis in his left arm but has been walking on a regular basis with the assistance of a walker, said his brother, jockey Charlie Woods Jr.