05/31/2004 12:00AM

Designed for Luck wins Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Nearly two years to the day after he suffered a career-threatening injury, Designed for Luck scored the most important win of his troubled career in Monday's $470,000 Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile at Hollywood Park.

Always near the front under Patrick Valenzuela, Designed for Luck ($13.80) finished a mile on turf in 1:32.81, narrowly missing Megan's Interco's 1994 track record of 1:32.64.

The victory gave winning trainer Vladimir Cerin an opportunity to reflect on the career of Designed for Luck, who has risen to the top of the California turf mile division in the last ninth months after returning from a hock injury. The injury occurred on the morning of the 2002 Shoemaker.

"Just to be part of this horse's career, as smart as he is, and as hard as he tries, if I knew as much about training as he did about racing, I'd be leading trainer every year," Cerin said. "He's just a brilliant horse, from an intelligent standpoint."

Drawn on the outside in the field of nine, Designed for Luck was close from the start, racing just behind Glick, who set fractions of 23.44 and 46.13 seconds. "We wanted to get a good break and not be 10-wide," Valenzuela said.

Designed for Luck followed Glick to the final turn, and took the lead before the eighth pole. He held off a stubborn challenge from Singletary to win by 1 1-2 lengths.

Singletary finished a head in front of Tsigane, who was followed by King of Happiness, Sweet Return (the 9-5 favorite), Dell Place, Glick and Momentum. Leroidesanimaux was scratched on Saturday morning.

Sweet Return, the four stakes in the last year, was not suited to the firm turf, trainer Ron McAnally said.

"At the three-eighths pole, I thought he would do it," McAnally said. "It might have been a little too hard."

Designed for Luck ended a four-race losing streak in the Shoemaker, his first win at the Grade 1 level. After returning from the hock injury, Designed for Luck won three consecutive races, including the Grade 2 Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile last October. Designed for Luck finished seventh to Six Perfections in the Breeders' Cup Mile at Santa Anita last October.

"He's got the body of a 5-year-old horse," Cerin said.

Designed for Luck has won 10 of 26 starts and $915,500 for owners David and Holly Wilson. The long-term goal is the Breeders' Cup Mile at Lone Star Park on Oct. 30, with one prep race likely, Cerin said.

*In the $81,225 Ack Ack Handicap, Taste of Paradise rallied from fifth along the rail to upset the even-money favorite Buddy Gil.

Taste of Paradise ($12.20) finished 7 1-2 furlongs in 1:28.02, scoring by three-quarters of a length. Black Bart finished third in the field of eight.

Taste of Paradise was two lengths behind pacesetters Cappuchino and Smile n Wildcat on the backstretch and moved closer on the final turn. He took the lead from Buddy Gil in the final furlong.

Trained by Molly Pearson for David Bloom, Taste of Paradise has won 4 of 16 starts and $350,455. The Ack Ack was his first stakes win since the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap last summer, when he was co-owned by Bloom and trained by John Sadler.