10/19/2005 12:00AM

Cosmic Kris good by association


CHICAGO - The Hawthorne Derby winner Gun Salute, it turns out, is going on to the Breeders' Cup Turf if his pre-entry in the race means anything. That fact alone should speak highly of the 3-year-old grass horse Cosmic Kris, who came within a neck of beating Gun Salute last Saturday at Hawthorne.

Some, in fact, believe Cosmic Kris should have wound up winning the race. The stretch run of the local derby was rough, and there was no doubt that Gun Salute drifted out into Cosmic Kris's path in the final 100 yards. Whether that changed the result and whether Gun Salute was still reacting to a chain of events that had begun at the top of the stretch are the more difficult questions to answer.

"He's a nice horse, and he keeps getting better," said Frank Springer, Cosmic Kris's trainer. "He ran a good race, it's just unfortunate he wasn't the winner."

Cosmic Kris came into 2005 as a three-race maiden, but he has compiled a record of 10-4-2-2 while earning almost $190,000. Springer said Cosmic Kris, who is owned by Gabe Grossberg, came out of the Hawthorne Derby "in good shape," and could make his next start Nov. 13 in the $150,000-added Commonwealth Turf Stakes at Churchill Downs.

Springer, meanwhile, sent the filly Jaguar City out to an 11 1/4-length romp in a third-level allowance race Oct. 13 at Keeneland. The kicker? Jaguar City is an Illinois-bred who will come back in a statebred-restricted stakes race here next month.

"She came out of that race the other day as good as she went into it," Springer said.

Jaguar City can run long or short, and there are two races in which she could compete here Nov. 12. Springer said he would nominate to both, but that Jaguar City was more likely to start in the Illini Princess over 1 1/16 miles.

Campbell to return soon

The injured jockey Jesse Campbell could be back in action as early as Sunday, pending a medical examination on Thursday, agent Penny Ffitch-Heyes said Wednesday.

Campbell was injured in a training-hours spill Friday and hasn't ridden since. He was hospitalized over the weekend with swelling in his back, but Ffitch-Heyes said Campbell was "feeling great," and hoping to return this weekend. "He's pacing the halls," Ffitch-Heyes said. "Right now, it doesn't look that serious."

Where next for Culinary?

The 3-year-old filly Culinary scored her first win since last season's Arlington-Washington Lassie in a second-level allowance here Sept. 30, but is in a holding pattern at the moment, trainer Mike Stidham said. Culinary has remained in Chicago with Stidham's Hawthorne string, and had an easy half-mile breeze on Saturday, but no plans have been finalized for her next start.

"We're not sure what we'll do with her right now," Stidham said. "We don't want to move her out of there just to move her. We're sitting and waiting."

Two possible spots, Stidham said, are a 3-year-old-restricted stakes race at Laurel and a third-level allowance race at Churchill.

* The open allowance races that might have been featured on the Friday card here failed to fill, leaving an Illinois-bred second-level turf allowance as the highest-class non-claiming race on the card. The race drew eight entries, including main-track-only Yesterday Evening. Majestic Zeal, Dylan, and front-running Catnour might be the ones to beat.