10/23/2002 11:00PM

Generous Rosi aimed for lesser riches

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ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - There were 3,900,000 reasons Niall O'Callaghan could have enumerated for giving Generous Rosi a shot in the Breeders' Cup Classic. In the end, O'Callaghan said no to all of them, and Generous Rosi has wound up on the Breeders' Cup undercard in the $100,000 Black Tie Affair Handicap.

"It was either $100,000 or $4 million, and I didn't think he was good enough for the $4 million," O'Callaghan said Thursday.

But he should be good enough for the Black Tie Affair, though the race is fairly strong for the class level. In addition to Generous Rosi, Balto Star and Hero's Tribute will receive ample betting support, while the Michigan-bred Secret Romeo may sneak into the exacta at long odds.

O'Callaghan could have entertained Classic thoughts after Generous Rosi finished second here in the Sept. 29 Washington Park Handicap. The race's winner, Tenpins, immediately moved onto the list of Classic hopefuls, and he beat Generous Rosi by only a neck.

And that was after Generous Rosi took the worst of things in the 1 1/4-mile Washington Park. Making only his second start since March, Generous Rosi set a fast pace from post 1, was hooked on the far turn, and after being passed by Tenpins, he was coming back to him in deep stretch.

At his best, Generous Rosi can cruise at a high speed while saving something for his finish, and O'Callaghan believes his horse has retained his edge the last month.

"I thought he blew out tremendously well this morning," O'Callaghan said. "I clocked him in 48 and two [fifths]."

Generous Rosi could be placed just outside Balto Star, who breaks to his inside, or he could wind up on the lead if Balto Star doesn't fire out of the gate. If another pace horse presses him from the outside, it could set the table for Secret Romeo, who will be downgraded by many because of recent races at tiny Great Lakes Downs. But Secret Romeo has also run well on bigger stages, and with 19 wins in 31 starts, his supporters know they will get maximum effort.

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