12/11/2008 12:00AM

Japan trip its own reward


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Though Tin Cup Chalice finished a disappointing 13th in the Japan Cup Dirt last weekend, trainer and part-owner Michael Lecesse said he was glad he made the trip.

"It was a great experience, I'd love to do it again," Lecesse said Thursday from his home in Farmington, N.Y. The Japan Racing Association, he said, "is great - everything they do is second to none. They really know how to take care of their horsemen, their racing surface. The racing program is beautiful. They bet $160 million in the one race."

Lecesse said Tin Cup Chalice was expected to arrive back in the United States from Japan on Thursday, and he would eventually return to Lecesse's farm in upstate New York for a well-deserved break.

Lecesse reflected on the year Tin Cup Chalice put together, which included 6 wins from 7 starts in North America, including a sweep of the Big Apple Triple for New York breds - which earned Lecesse and part-owner Scott Van Laer a $250,000 bonus - as well as a victory in the Grade 2 Indiana Derby.

"Probably the only one that was a little bit of a surprise was the Indiana Derby," Lecesse said. "He was up for every challenge that I gave him,"

Lecesse said Tin Cup Chalice would get a couple of months off at his farm, located less than two miles from Finger Lakes. Lecesse said he has not thought about what races he would like to make with Tin Cup Chalice next year, other than that he would like to run him once at Saratoga. Tin Cup Chalice won the Albany Handicap last August, a race that clinched the Big Apple Triple for 3-year-olds.

"That's one of my goals, get him in his peak form for Saratoga," Lecesse said.

There is nothing specifically for Tin Cup Chalice on the traditional Saratoga stakes schedule, but, more than likely, there will be an overnight stakes he could compete in. Lecesse said he's not opposed to shipping Tin Cup Chalice somewhere for an open-company graded stakes if the situation is right.

"He'll mainly stay on the NYRA circuit," Lecesse said. "If he's up for a challenge we're up to taking him anyplace we need to go."

Acai to get Sunshine Millions prep

Though nominated to Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 Queens County Handicap, Acai was instead entered in a second-level allowance race that goes as race 6 on Saturday's card. Acai, third to Tin Cup Chalice in the Indiana Derby, and second to Anak Nakal in the Pennsylvania Derby, is using the mile-and-70-yard race as a prep for the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream on Jan. 24.

Acai has two wins and those two graded stakes placing since being purchased by International Equine Acquisitions Holdings Stable and turned over to trainer Richard Dutrow Jr.

The IEAH team and Dutrow are in Hong Kong this weekend, where Kip Deville is set to run in Sunday's Hong Kong Mile.

New entry schedule beginning in 2009

The New Year will bring a new entry schedule to the New York Racing Association.

Beginning in January, NYRA will take double entries on Wednesdays for racing on Fridays and Saturdays. Entries for Sundays will be taken on Thursdays. Entries for Wednesdays will continue to be taken on Saturdays and entries for Thursdays will continue to be taken on Sundays.

There will be no entries taken on Fridays with the exception of when racing is being conducted on Mondays such as Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 19) and Presidents Day (Feb. 16).

P.J. Campo, NYRA's racing secretary, said earlier entries should enable corrected late information such as equipment or medication changes to make it into Daily Racing Form as well as get the past performances out to horseplayers sooner.

Rose not coming after all

It appears as though jockey agent Brian Morgan was premature in his pronouncement that jockey Jeremy Rose would be moving his tack here after Christmas.

Kid Breeden, Rose's current agent, said that Rose will be staying put and riding at Philadelphia Park and Laurel for the winter with the occasional trip north to ride in a stakes or two.

"It's definitely not happening," Breeden said of a move by Rose to Aqueduct. "He's staying put."

New apprentice on the way

While Rose may not be coming to Aqueduct, 10-pound apprentice Amanda Casey will start riding here after Christmas. Casey, who will be represented by former NYRA racing official Sergio Lozano Paz, has won 3 races from 96 starts.

Her lone 2008 win came in the Joe Joyce Memorial Derby at Wyoming Downs in August.

Accredit takes day's stakes

Accredit remained perfect on wet tracks by shrugging off an early pace challenge from M J's Enchanteur before drawing clear to a 2 1/2-length victory in Thursday's $69,100 Parlay Me Stakes. Palmer's Approach rallied for second, 2 1/4 lengths ahead of Dubai Distinction.

Under Alan Garcia, Accredit dueled inside of M J's Enchanteur through fractions of 22.81 seconds and 46.35 for a half-mile. Turning for home, Accredit left M J's Enchanteur and the rest of the field as he covered six furlongs in 1:11.41 and returned $5.50 as the second choice. Accredit, a 3-year-old son of E Dubai owned by Darley Stable and trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, is 4 for 11 in his career, with all of his four wins coming on off tracks.

* Trainer Vito Giambanco was suspended 15 days and fined $1,000 by the stewards after he was found to have a banned substance in his horse trailer, according to the stewards. Giambanco vans his horses down from a farm in Manorville, N.Y. The stewards were forced to scratch Silent Dreams from the fourth race on Dec. 4 after the substance was found in Giambanco's trailer. The suspension would have been longer, but Giambanco waived his right of appeal.