09/02/2002 11:00PM

Flying Notes steals Labor Day show


AUBURN, Wash. - It was a day for the record books at Emerald Downs.

Monday's Labor Day program saw Bud Klokstad become the first trainer to saddle 35 stakes winners at the seven-year-old track, while Kevin Radke became the first jockey to ride six winners on a single Emerald card. Most memorably, the day saw Flying Notes, with assists from Klokstad and Radke, turn in what was simply the most astonishing performance in track history in the $125,000 Emerald Downs Breeders' Cup Derby.

The first half of the 1 1/8-mile derby was probably about what most fans expected, Flying Notes showing the way through a half mile in 45.80 seconds as arch rival Salt Grinder, the 6-5 favorite, kept tabs on him from the outside.

Passing the half-mile pole Salt Grinder cut to the inside to launch a bid, and that was Flying Notes's cue to unload. Without the slightest urging from Radke, Flying Notes began a dash for the wire that carried him six furlongs in 1:08.40, only .60 off the track record, and a mile in 1:32.60, also .60 under the track record. At that point Flying Notes had five lengths on Salt Grinder, but he kept pouring it on to reach the wire with an 11 1/4-length margin over Southern California invader World Light in 1:45.40. That clocking was 1.40 seconds faster than Moonlight Meeting's track record, and it was only .40 off Simply Majestic's 1988 world record for 1 1/8 miles on dirt.

What made the time more remarkable was that Flying Notes, who shed the extension blinkers that kept him close to the rail when he lost to Salt Grinder in the Washington Owners Handicap, raced far off the rail throughout.

"He is just so much more comfortable out in the middle of the track," explained Radke. "He was so relaxed during the first part of it. He was just galloping. He took off on his own when Salt Grinder challenged him, and I didn't even ask him to run until we hit the stretch. He absolutely ran great."

Even Klokstad, who has trained such good runners as Time to Pass, Staff Rider, and Eclipse Award winner Chinook Pass, was at a loss for comparisons when it came to describing Flying Notes's effort.

"I'm amazed," he said. "I've had some nice horses, but I've never had one run like that before. Maybe Chinook Pass was as impressive when he set the world record for five furlongs, but this guy can go on with it. I tell you, at this point in his career he is as good or better than Chinook Pass, and I never thought I'd be saying that."

Klokstad said Flying Notes, a Kentucky-bred son of French Deputy who races for Ruth and Johnny Lewis, will likely race next in California.

"I haven't got a race picked out for him, but I'm going down there, and I guess now I'll have to take him along," he said. "I don't know if he'll be able to duplicate this race down there, but who knows? That horse who ran second had been pretty competitive with nice horses in Southern California, and Flying Notes just humiliated him. The way he ran today, he might fit just about anywhere."

World Light got second by more than eight lengths over longshot Blowin in the Wind, while Salt Grinder faded to fifth in the field of six.

Radke's big day included wins on four Klokstad-trained runners: Pronto One ($4.60), Murdock ($4.40), Go Not Whoa ($12), and Flying Notes ($6). In addition, he booted home Oneninehundred Fun ($6.40) and Persian Reign ($4.20), who won the nightcap by a diminishing head.

"I thought I got beat in the last jump," he said. "I haven't had a day like today in a long time, or ever."

Radke's hopes of breaking Van Belvoir's record of 148 wins in a single season at Emerald seemed to be dashed when he was suspended for three days last week, but the unprecedented six-win day revived them.

With nine racing days remaining in the meet, Radke has 130 wins, so he will need to average two wins a day to tie the record.

Belvoir established the record in 1996, when the meeting ran for 100 days. This year's meet runs 91 days.