07/25/2001 11:00PM

Detener should get the money

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SALEM, N.H. - Detener will be an overwhelming favorite when he heads a field of six in Saturday's $25,000 Lou Smith Memorial Handicap at Rockingham Park.

Detener, a 6-year-old Dynaformer gelding who races for the partnership of Suzanne and Marshall Novak and Gary Jackson, is the 120-pound highweight in the 1 1/16-mile Smith. His weight assignment is from five to 13 pounds heavier than his rivals will be asked to carry. Winston Thompson will be reunited with Detener for the first time since last year.

Detener, under the direction of trainer Marshall Novak, was one of the top handicap horses to campaign regularly in New England last year, as he won four races and $62,336. He picked up his first victory of this year in his last race, when he showed his usual late run en route to a three-quarter-length score in an allowance race at the Smith distance.

His last win, and all his starts on the main track this year, have come on off tracks.

Detener was able to stay close to a slow pace in his victory, his third in four starts at Rockingham, and it appears that the Smith is lacking a clear front-runner, meaning another slow pace is likely.

Detener has defeated just about every member of this field at one time or another during the past year and a half, and he should add to that record in the Smith.

Miner's Trick would seem the likely pacesetter, as he comes off a win in a fast sprint race, but that wasn't the case in his previous start. That was the 1 1/16-mile allowance race won by Detener, in which Miner's Trick went along evenly, about seven lengths off the pace, which is how far back he finished in third place.

In his last race, Miner's Trick, a 5-year-old Miner's Mark horse, came from just off the pace to register his second win of the year and was claimed for $20,000. He will be making his first start for trainer Kevin Joy and Touchdown Stable on Saturday. He was assigned to carry 114 pounds., with no rider listed at entry time.

The Smith field also includes Sky Approval, 113, Josiah Hampshire, Jr.; Personal Moon, 115, Edwin Molinari; Ben Speedin, 114, Jill Jellison; and Basil's Rhythm, 107, Taylor Hole.