10/02/2006 12:00AM

BC Classic could be next for 3 Ky. Cup runners


Ball Four, Perfect Drift, and Premium Tap - the winner, runner-up, and beaten favorite in the Grade 2 Kentucky Cup Classic on Saturday at Turfway Park - all might make their next start in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic, according to their trainers.

Ball Four, a wire-to-wire winner as the longest shot in a field of six, came out of the race in good shape, trainer Patrick Biancone said Monday. "We may take a shot at the Breeders' Cup," he said. "Why not? We have almost five weeks to decide, anyway."

Premium Tap, who nearly fell after clipping Ball Four's heels midway through the far turn, losing all momentum and virtually all chance to win, was back home at Belmont Park early Monday and appears no worse for wear, said trainer John Kimmel.

"I went over him with a fine-tooth comb, and aside from a superficial cut on one of his feet, he looks perfect to me," said Kimmel. "If, per chance, the horse does well in his training, and if, per chance, the picture for the Classic gets a little foggy and Bernardini happens to not run as well as I think he will Saturday [in the Jockey Club Gold Cup], we'd certainly consider supplementing to the race."

The supplemental fee for Premium Tap would be 9 percent of the purse, or $450,000.

Kimmel half-joked Monday morning that he was "almost over" being upset about Premium Tap's trip. "Anybody who knows anything about racing could see he was going to win so easy that it was a joke," he said. "But that's racing, and we're just going to have to turn that page."

Premium Tap, the 11-10 favorite under Kent Desormeaux, wound up fifth, beaten just 1 1/2 lengths.

Perfect Drift would become the first horse to run in the Classic five times if, as expected, he starts in the Nov. 4 race at Churchill Downs. Kona Gold, who ran in the Sprint every year from 1998 to 2002, is the only horse to have run in five Breeders' Cups.

The respective Beyer Speed Figures for Ball Four, Perfect Drift, and Premium Tap in the KC Classic were 98, 97, and 95.

U D Ghetto probable for Juvenile

The 2-year-old races in the five-race Kentucky Cup series likely produced one at least one starter for the Breeders' Cup. U D Ghetto, a 1 1/4-length winner of the KC Juvenile, probably will be pointed to the BC Juvenile, trainer Tony Reinstedler said Monday, but the runner-up, Shermanesque, most likely will not.

"The Breeders' Cup is an outside option," said Reinstedler. "I'm leaning more toward just putting him away for the year, although it's possible I might run him back in the Iroquois."

The Iroquois will be run Oct. 29 at Churchill.

Meanwhile, trainer Bernie Flint said he hasn't made a decision yet on the BC Juvenile Fillies for Cohiba Miss, the wire-to-wire winner of the KC Juvenile Fillies.

"She's still up at Turfway," Flint said Monday morning. "Once we get her back here [at Churchill] we'll look her over and talk about it."

On another subject, Flint said he has turned out his promising 2-year-old colt Unbridled Express for the next six weeks or so.

"Use them now or use them later," said Flint. "We're looking forward to having a top 3-year-old next year."

Unbridled Express finished third in his most recent start, the Sept. 4 Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga. The Hopeful was Unbridled Express's only race since Richard Santulli and partners purchased a half-interest in him for a reported $1.8 million.

Handle increase, but 2 more races

All-sources handle on the Kentucky Cup card was up 11 percent over corresponding figures from the same day last year, but there is a mitigating factor in that increase.

Last year, Turfway ran 10 races in conjunction with four simulcasts from sister track Kentucky Downs. This year, with a later date than usual and Kentucky Downs already having closed, Turfway went alone with a 12-race card. Total handle this year was $6,855,434, compared to $6,164,738 on the 10 Turfway races last Sept. 17.

The highest all-sources handle in the 13-year history of the Kentucky Cup was $9,589,753, set in 1997.

With admission being free, Turfway did not take an attendance count Saturday and does not plan to release an estimate, said chief financial officer Cliff Reed.

Track thrilled with Stones concert

Despite a steady rain throughout much of the nearly two hours the Rolling Stones were on stage, the concert went off without any major hitches and to the utter delight of most of the estimated 44,000-plus fans who attended Friday night at Churchill. The spotlights, seven-story stage, and innumerable other props - along with the rain and the extraordinary backdrop of the home of the Kentucky Derby - combined for a truly unique and unforgettable event.

Butch Lehr, Churchill track superintendent, and Julie Koenig Loignon, vice president for communications, both said that track officials were elated with how the event played out.

"You can hardly tell anything was on the turf course," Lehr said Monday morning, referring to thousands of fans being seated atop a protective hard-plastic covering on the turf. "There were a few minor problems, like they told me everything would be off the grass by 4 in the morning after the concert and it was more like 4 in the afternoon. But nothing major went wrong, thank goodness. All in all it was a pretty awesome event, and none of the horsemen had any big complaints. There was a lot to worry about, but it all went pretty well, although I don't know if I'd ever want to go through anything like it again."

* The 17-day Keeneland fall meet opens Friday with a three-day weekend jammed with major stakes, including three Grade 1 races: the Shadwell Turf Mile and Breeders' Futurity on Saturday and the Spinster on Sunday. The highlight of the Friday opener, the $400,000 Alcibiades, is expected to get a full field of 12 2-year-old fillies, according to assistant racing secretary Dan Bork.