11/09/2001 12:00AM

'Best' may run next in Cigar Mile


MIAMI - Best of the Rest, who showed that when healthy he's still one of the top handicap performers around with his easy victory in the Spend a Buck Handicap at Calder on Oct. 13, may make his next start in the Cigar Mile trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. said Friday.

Best of the Rest has been plagued by knee problems throughout his career with the Spend a Buck just his 14th start since he debuted as a 2-year-old in 1997. Best of the Rest earned a 106 Beyer Speed Figure for his win in the Spend a Buck, the fourth time he has hit triple-digit figures and an awesome performance considering it was the first time he had been beyond seven furlongs in over two years.

"He came out of the race fine and worked five furlongs in 1:01 and change yesterday [Thursday]," said Plesa. "Right now our options are either shipping to New York for the Cigar or stay home for the $35,000 King Rex Handicap and then train him up to the Hooper."

The $100,000 Fred Hooper Handicap will be run here on Dec. 29.

Plesa has always maintained that if healthy Best of the Rest could have been among the top handicap horses in the country. The Cigar may finally give him a chance to test the theory.

"Running in the Cigar gives us an opportunity see where we are with this horse right now and maybe showcase him a little outside of Florida," said Plesa. "The biggest problem with this horse is that he's so fragile it's hard to map out a campaign or make any long-range plans."

Unbeatable at five furlongs

The world's fastest horse? One could make a pretty good case that it's Kipperscope, a 4-year-old colt who will be the odds-on favorite to win Sunday's five furlong allowance feature on the turf.

Kipperscope will seek his third straight turf sprint victory. His most recent success came on Sept. 6 when he captured the Go With Times Handicap by better than five lengths while covering five furlongs in 55 seconds. The time was just one tick off the track and world record held by Heckofaralph.

"He won that race under wraps," said trainer Rudy Wolfendale. "And he really seems to run for Cornelio [Velazquez]. When he gets into him he just explodes. He used to have a habit of lugging in the last eighth of a mile but I put cheater blinkers on and have the rider show him the stick in their left hand and that's kind of controlled the problem."

The biggest problem Wolfendale has had with Kipperscore is getting races for him at five furlongs.

"Turf or dirt it just doesn't matter, he's just plain out rapid," said Wolfendale.