09/13/2002 11:00PM

Horse-for-course Trip wins Turfway B.C.

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FLORENCE, Ky. - Trip stayed perfect at Turfway Park with an easy win as the favorite in the secondary feature of Saturday's Kentucky Cup card, the $200,000 Turfway Breeders' Cup.

Trip, a 5-year-old Claiborne Farm homebred, has won four times in as many starts at Turfway, all of them stakes. A Lord at War mare now trained by Shug McGaughey, Trip won the Bourbonette as a 3-year-old, then the Fairway Fun and the Turfway B.C. last year. At other tracks, Trip, now an earner of $888,773, has won 7 of 23 starts.

Always prominent under Pat Day, Trip drew off to win by 5 1/2 lengths over Mystic Lady, the second choice in a field of nine fillies and mares. Trip returned $5 after finishing 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.01 over a fast track.

With Trip tracking her closely, Red n'Gold led for six furlongs through moderate fractions, while Mystic Lady lurked just behind them. Into the stretch, Trip easily took command while Mystic Lad overtook Red n'Gold for second by 1 1/4 lengths.

"She obviously likes this racetrack," Day said of Trip. "She took me right into the race and was real comfortable the whole way. Once she went by the leader, she just threw her ears up and galloped to the wire."

Trip led a $17.80 exacta and a $256 trifecta.

Sprint: Day Trader finishes in the black

Day Trader broke like a shot, then turned back Ecstatic en route to a front-running victory in the $150,000 Kentucky Cup Sprint, which perennially produces contenders for the Breeders' Cup Sprint.

Day Trader, owned by Overbrook Farm and trained by D. Wayne Lukas, finished 3 1/2 lengths ahead of late-running Premier Performer in a field of 11 3-year-olds. He completed six furlongs in 1:10.01 and most likely will make his next start in the Oct. 26 B.C. Sprint, said Lukas, who won the Kentucky Cup Sprint for a record fourth time.

Day Trader, a gray Phone Trick colt, returned $8.60 as second choice to Ecstatic, who finished two lengths behind Premier Performer in third.

Day Trader now has won 4 of 12 starts, with the Matt Winn at Churchill being his other stakes win.

Juvenile: Vindication now a Cup favorite

Vindication became one of the favorites for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile when he overcame a troubled start to win the $100,000 Juvenile by six lengths.

Vindication, ridden by Mike Smith and trained by Bob Baffert, was immediately compromised when Crowned King, the lone supplemental entry in the Kentucky Cup series, lost jockey Chandra Rennie at the break. Smith said he was "lucky not to run over the jock" when he got Vindication, who broke to the inside of Crowned King, to avoid the mishap.

After losing some six or eight lengths, Vindication, a Seattle Slew colt owned by Padua Stables, relaxed at the back before launching a huge outside run down the backstretch. Leaving the turn, he overtook front-running Private Gold, then went on to finish 1 1/16 miles in 1:46.70.

Baffert said he had told Padua owner Satish Sanan that Vindication "needed a little adversity" after easily winning two sprints at Del Mar to open his career.

"This guy ranks way up there with my good 2-year-olds," Baffert said afterward. With the Breeders' Cup next, "I hope he just keeps it rolling," he added.

Vindication returned $4.20 as the favorite in a field of eight. Private Gold, the 6-5 second choice, held second by three-quarters of a length over Tito's Beau, a 33-1 shot.

Juvenile Fillies: The mighty Atlantic Ocean

Baffert and Smith also won the opening race of the series, the $83,750 Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies, when Atlantic Ocean swept to the lead turning for home to prevail by 2 1/2 lengths over Ruby's Reception, the even-money favorite.

Atlantic Ocean returned $9.80 as second choice after finishing a mile in 1:40.39.

"We're definitely thinking about the Breeders' Cup for her," said Baffert. "Maybe we'll run back in the [Oct. 4] Alcibiades at Keeneland, but we just wanted to see what she had today."

Atlantic Ocean, owned by The Thoroughbred Corp., was purchased for $31,000 as a yearling last September, then sold five months later for $1.9 million at the Barretts sale in California.