09/21/2006 12:00AM

First Riviello on turf has tough trio from Spa


Three horses coming out of graded stakes at Saratoga figure prominently in the $100,000 Larry Riviello President's Cup at Philadelphia Park.

Although the 1 1/8-mile Riviello has been held since 2001, this is the first time it will be contested on turf. It essentially replaces the Greenwood Turf Cup, a 1 1/2-mile race last run in 2004, on the track's stakes schedule.

Interpatation and T.D. Vance finished within a length of each other in last month's Grade 2 Bernard Baruch. The 3-year-old Rock Lobster will be meeting older horses for the first time after winning the Grade 3 Saranac three weeks ago.

The 4-year-old T.D. Vance may be vulnerable to an early pace battle as one of three need-the-lead runners in the field, although he seems capable of setting faster fractions than either of other confirmed front-runners, Hissouthernmajesty and Just Thunder.

A contested pace would benefit both Interpatation and Rock Lobster.

Interpatation and Giant Wrecker, freshened since winning back-to-back optional claiming races at Monmouth and Delaware in June and July, are cross-entered in Laurel's Schapiro BC.

Rock Lobster managed to win the 1 3/16-mile Saranac despite having to steady and alter course. His trainer, Michael Dickinson, won the Greenwood Cup in 2002 with Cetewayo.

Rock Lobster probably needs to move forward on the Beyer Speed Figure scale for the fourth consecutive time to win this race. His Beyer Figure of 94 for the Saranac is 2 points shy of the average figure of the last three turf winners of the Greenwood Cup and its 12-furlong predecessor, the Bensalem.

Leadwithyourchin is the third member of the field to exit the Baruch. But he has yet to run faster than a 93 Beyer and remains eligible for a second-level allowance race.

Delaware: Always First classy but rusty

Always First and General Jumbo, both dropping out of Grade 2 races, bring a class advantage into the $54,000 Cape Henlopen Stakes, a 1 1/2-mile turf race at Delaware Park.

The 5-year-old Always First has competed at the Grade 2 level in his last three starts, highlighted by a win in the Sunset Breeders' Cup Handicap at Hollywood Park. That was in July 2005, however, and Always First has not raced since last January.

He will be making his first start for trainer Tom Voss, who shows conflicting stats in similar situations. Since 2001, Voss is 0 for 4 with new acquisitions running in turf marathons longer than 1 3/16 miles. But he is 36 for 165 (21 percent) with all turf runners returning from layoffs greater than 180 days and 2 for 10 in turf marathons.

If Always First isn't ready to fire fresh, General Jumbo could win. He will be making his second start off a layoff for trainer Graham Motion after running evenly in the Grade 2, 1 1/2-mile Nijinsky at Woodbine.

Other contenders include Willard Straight, who ships in from New York for trainer Todd Pletcher, and Buckeye Wonder, who has won 2 of his last 3 and 3 of 4 lifetime over Delaware's turf course. Buckeye Wonder is cross-entered in the Schapiro at Laurel.