11/08/2001 1:00AM

Include heads to Clark with Day up

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Include, seventh as the 10-1 fifth choice in the Breeders' Cup Classic, has joined the prospective field for the Nov. 23 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs and will have Pat Day aboard.

Trainer Bud Delp said Thursday from Maryland that Include came out of the Classic in good shape and that the colt "looked like he wanted to do something. I'm sure that if he'd won, we'd have put him away for the year. But we looked around and thought the Clark would be the right spot."

Delp added that the 1 1/8-mile distance of the Clark is "his best distance, and it's an easy trip for us over there to Louisville."

Include will have a workout at Laurel Park before vanning to Churchill the week of the race, Delp said. "We're planning on having him there sometime Tuesday morning [Nov. 20]."

Include, owned by Robert Meyerhoff, figures to be one of the top two favorites in the Grade 2, $400,000 Clark, along with Guided Tour, the Churchill-based gelding who was fifth in the Classic.

Delp said the Japan Cup Dirt briefly had been considered for the 4-year-old Include but that Meyerhoff did not want to travel that far.

Delp also said that even though the connections of Tiznow and Lido Palace had talked about running in the Clark before subsequently bowing out, Include was going to run anyway. He also said Meyerhoff "has indicated to me that he wants the horse to run as a 5-year-old. We're not going back to New Orleans this winter, so what we're going to do with him is something still to be talked about."

Include, by Broad Brush, has won nine of 15 starts lifetime and more than $1.4 million, with the Pimlico Special and Massachusetts handicaps ranking as his top victories. After the Classic at Belmont, Delp complained about the trip the colt got under John Velazquez, saying he never had a chance to run his race by not leaving the dead rail.

Other probables for the Clark include Connected, Outofthebox, Scorpion, and Euchre.

Day is busy

Pat Day has some other top mounts lined up for the second half of this 24-day meet. For the Nov. 22 Falls City Handicap, he will ride Unbridled Elaine if Dallas Stewart decides to run her. But if Unbridled Elaine passes, then trainer D. Wayne Lukas might ship in Spain from California to run with Day aboard, according to Doc Danner, Day's agent.

Day also has the probable favorite in the $150,000 River City Handicap here Sunday in Tijiyr, who will be the topweight. The race is shaping up as a tough one, with Dr. Kashnikow, Strategic Mission, and Minor Wisdom also likely to be part of a sizable field.

Watch wound up

For all she has done, Watch has never won a graded race. Trainer Frank Brothers hopes that will change Saturday when Watch runs in the Grade 3 Cardinal Handicap.

"She shows up every time," said Brothers. "Her last start at Keeneland," in which she finished second in the Bryan Station Stakes to Cardinal favorite Gino's Spirits, "was a heck of a race. One of these days, she's going to come through with a big one. I think she's coming up to this race the right way."

Watch, a 4-year-old Lord at War filly, has seven wins and five seconds from 16 lifetime starts. A Claiborne Farm homebred, she has earned more than $432,000.

No stopping Dernier Croise

Despite being soundly bumped off stride at the sixteenth pole, Dernier Croise rallied to capture the $59,800 feature here Wednesday, holding off Buff to win by a neck.

Dernier Croise, ridden by Robby Albarado, paid $9 as third choice in a field of seven older turf horses. He made his winning move down the stretch, only to be impeded by Wudantunoit, a longshot who was tiring badly on the lead.

"He really nailed us, but our horse dug in and kept going," said winning trainer David Carroll.

Albarado, Chavez triple

While Dernier Croise capped a three-win day for Albarado, another would-be challenger to Day for the fall riding title, Jorge Chavez, also had three wins here Tuesday.

"My reception in Kentucky has been very, very good," said Chavez, who is riding regularly at a Churchill meet for the first time. "I like to ride for everybody, and that's what I'm doing."

Through nine of 24 days, Day had 12 wins, followed by Albarado with 11. Chavez was fifth in the standings with eight.

Pitino to sign autographs

It's not bobblehead mania, but the lines should be long nevertheless here Saturday when Rick Pitino sits down to sign autographs for his many fans.

Pitino, the former University of Kentucky basketball coach who now coaches archrival Louisville, is one of the most visible promoters of racing here or anywhere, having raced horses for years with Nick Zito and other trainers. His autograph session is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Saturday promotion follows by one week the Pat Day bobblehead doll giveaway, which proved to be an overwhelming success.

On Sunday, the ontrack promotion is the annual chili cook-off.