06/27/2001 11:00PM

Delp: Include's weight assignment is unfair

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ELMONT, N.Y - If Include has as much fight in his blood as his trainer, Bud Delp, has in his, he will have a major impact on Sunday's $500,000 Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park.

Delp, one of Maryland's most respected trainers, criticized New York Racing Association racing secretary Mike Lakow regarding the weight assignments for the Grade 2 Suburban. Include was assigned 122 pounds, one less than Albert the Great.

Delp said those assignments were "idiotic" considering Include beat Albert the Great in the Pimlico Special by only a neck when getting seven pounds. Since then, Albert the Great won the Brooklyn Handicap and Include won the Massachusetts Handicap.

"It looks like they want the home team to win it," Delp said from Maryland. "We beat him a long head getting seven pounds from the Albert the Great. It's a six-pound weight shift in his favor. That is basically unheard of in racing. I'd like to make a wager that if you talk to every racing secretary in the United Stakes - with the exception of the one in New York - Canada, Japan, and Dubai, there's no way in the word they make the weights they did in New York."

Delp believes that Include - who is 5 for 5 this year, including three graded stakes wins - should have been assigned 119 pounds to Albert the Great's 123.

Lakow, who said he also heard gripes from the connections of Albert the Great, who thought Albert the Great and Include should run under equal weights, thought he weighted the race fairly.

"Albert the Great won the Brooklyn, but the Brooklyn was not one of our stronger Brooklyns," Lakow said. "I thought that the horses Include beat in the Mass Cap were superior to the ones Albert beat in the Brooklyn. Include has won nine of 10 is 5 for 5 this year, and has won a Grade 1 and a Grade 2 and earned more than $1.2 million. Albert the Great is 2 for 4 this year and has earned less than a half-million.

"I didn't want weights getting in the way of allowing the best horse winning this race," Lakow said.

As upset as Delp was, he still shipped Include from Maryland to Belmont Park early Thursday morning and still plans to run.

"My horse is there, we're running, and we're probably going to get our [butt] whipped," Delp said.

Before leaving his Laurel Park barn late Wednesday night, Include breezed a bullet half-mile in 47.20 seconds there.

Entries for the Suburban were to be taken Friday morning. Expected to join Albert the Great and Include in the starting gate are Unshaded, Traditionally, Perfect Cat, and Lido Palace.

Trippi iffy for Tom Fool

Trippi worked four furlongs in 47.91 seconds Thursday morning at Belmont Park, but grabbed a quarter on his right front foot, which may preclude him from running in Wednesday's $150,000 Tom Fool Handicap.

"It's not real bad, but it's going to be day to day," trainer Todd Pletcher said. "He took a little dime-size chunk out of it, and it's a matter of how quickly I can heal it and firm it up."

Trippi has not won since taking the Grade 1 Vosburgh over this track last September. Like the Tom Fool, the Vosburgh was run at seven furlongs. He is coming off a sixth-place finish in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap.

The Tom Fool drew only 14 nominations and as of Thursday had only Peeping Tom (120 pounds), Say Florida Sandy (117) and Here's Zealous (112) as definite starters.

Caller One, a California-based sprinter, was made the 125-pound highweight. Trainer Jim Chapman entered him in Sunday's $300,000 Triple Bend Handicap at Hollywood Park, but said he is considering putting him on a plane Tuesday for the Tom Fool.