05/08/2003 12:00AM

Coroner earns French Derby berth

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Coroner earned his way into the French Derby with a victory in the Group 2 Prix Hocquart at Longchamp on Thursday, but just barely.

The Jean-Claude Rouget-trained Coroner held on by a short head and a neck from Touch of Land and Risk Seeker in the Hocquart, a 1 1/2-mile prep for the June 1 Prix du Jockey-Club (French Derby). Coroner (3-1) was timed in 2:35.80 on soft ground.

At Chester, the Michael Stoute-trained Kris Kin scored a 20-1 upset in 1 1/4-mile, 75-yard Group 3 Dee Stakes by two lengths over odds-on Big Bad Bob. Kris Kin will not, however, run in the Epsom Derby, as he is not nominated.