07/04/2002 12:00AM

Be wary of stars in Philly Breeders' Cup


New York-based sprinters Yonaguska and Late Carson are the biggest names in Saturday's $200,000 Philadelphia Breeders' Cup Handicap. But based on what they have done recently, bettors should be wary of what may happen in the six-furlong, Grade 3 stakes at Philadelphia Park.

Yonaguska, a 4-year-old trained by D. Wayne Lukas, was in peak form last fall when he won the Grade 3 Sports Page and Grade 2 Fall Highweight handicaps at Aqueduct in back-to-back starts. Since then, however, Yonaguska is winless in three starts, including a fading fourth in his only race this season, the True North at Belmont Park. If you're looking for a silver lining in the defeat, Yonaguska dueled for the first half-mile in the True North, racing along a rail that hasn't been the best place to be for much of the Belmont spring meet.

Angle players should note, however, that Lukas, for all his success elsewhere, is only 1 for 7 shipping into Philly Park this season.

Late Carson has been a money burner for much of the year, losing three times as the heavy favorite, including a dismal fourth in a field of six as the 3-5 favorite in the Damitrius at Delaware Park two starts ago. Like Yonaguska, Late Carson exits the True North, where he finished third after some trouble coming out of the gate.

The horse with the sharpest overall form is True Passion, who has reeled off five wins in a row while moving from nonwinners-of-three-lifetime claimers to the $100,000 Wilmington Handicap at Delaware Park last out.

Deer Run has been consistent, winning 4 of 6 starts this season. But after a freshening of almost seven weeks, he could only manage to finish fourth in the Wilmington.

Smile My Lord finished second to Deer Run in his seasonal debut at Pimlico, but couldn't get closer than 7 3/4 lengths to the winner in each of his next two starts against graded stakes company in Maryland and New York.

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