09/16/2004 12:00AM

Key race points to Swift Attraction


NEW YORK - There are only six weeks until Breeders' Cup Day at Lone Star Park, and races that can be used as preps for the Breeders' Cup are now coming fast and furious, as evidenced by Saturday's stakes schedule.

Saturday is Kentucky Cup Day at Turfway Park, where five stakes worth a total of $825,000 will be decided. The $350,000 Kentucky Cup Classic is the main event, but there are four other stakes there: the $175,000 Turfway Breeders' Cup for fillies and mares, the $100,000 Kentucky Cup Sprint, the $100,000 Kentucky Cup Juvenile, and the $100,000 Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies.

There will be $450,000 worth of stakes action Saturday at Belmont Park where, unfortunately, weather promises to be a factor with rain in the forecast. The $200,000 Belmont Breeders' Cup Handicap, scheduled for turf, is the richest of the three Belmont stakes, followed by the $150,000 Jerome Handicap for 3-year-olds and the $100,000 Floral Park Handicap for female sprinters.

Here are three stakes that attracted my attention, in the order I like them:

Kentucky Cup Sprint

Maybe I'm nuts to take a horse still eligible to an entry-level allowance race in a spot like this, but that's just what I'm going to do. I'm taking Swift Attraction in an upset.

Swift Attraction finished fourth last time out in a very hot allowance race at Saratoga. That race was won by Love of Money, who came back to win the Pennsylvania Derby by the length of the stretch; the allowance's third-place finisher, Primary Suspect, came back to win as though he'll be a major stakes winner in the near future.

Swift Attraction, who was cut out to be a top horse - being by Storm Cat from Golden Attraction - ran well to record his first win two starts back at Saratoga. Notably, that was the only time Swift Attraction has competed over a fast track, or was ridden by Pat Day. He has Day back up Saturday, and may well get the footing he wants, too.

Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies

Punch Appeal raced against the best 2-year-old filly in the nation last time out when she chased Sense of Style in the Spinaway Stakes. She faces no such opponent in this event and is the firm pick.

Not only was Punch Appeal in very deep water in the Spinaway, she had poor racing luck as well, getting bumped and squeezed back at the start. Still, she was beaten only two lengths for second money.

With Winning Season and Im a Dixie Girl figuring to come out firing from starting spots just to her inside and outside, Punch Appeal may fall into a nice stalking trip, which was just the kind of setup that enabled her to win two stakes at Calder.

Belmont Breeders' Cup

If this race remains on turf, I expect Stroll to be seriously overbet. That is because Stroll won the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic on a deep course at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day. But, Stroll hasn't raced since early June, and shows but two well-spaced published workouts since. As great as Bill Mott, the trainer of Stroll, is, there are too many question marks.

I'm going with Senor Swinger. Senor Swinger demonstrated that he can handle an off course when he beat the accomplished Hard Buck over such a surface in June, and proved he is not just a horse for the Churchill Downs turf course when he won the Arlington Handicap two starts back. Moreover, Senor Swinger comes out of a much tougher spot, the Arlington Million, in which he finished seventh. The Million has already proved to be a productive race. Powerscourt, who finished first in the Million, came back to be a close third last week in the Group 1 Irish Champion, and Magistretti, who finished third in the Million, came back to win last week's Man o' War as tons the best.


Belmont : Belmont Breeders' Cup Handicap

3 and up, 1 1/8 miles, turf
Approximate post: Eastern-4:40 p.m., Central-3:40 p.m., Mountain-2:40 p.m., Pacific-1:40 p.m.; Elmont, N. Y., forecast: Occasional showers and thunderstorms, 70 degrees

2B. A. Way88991006-1
3Senor Swinger991021048-5
5Gulch Approval9696975-1
Main track only:

Most recent Beyer listed first; odds by Brian Pochman

Turfway Park: Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies

Fillies, 2-years-old, 1 mile
Approximate post: E-5:12 p.m., C-4:12 p.m., M-3:12 p.m., P-2:12 p.m.; Florence, Ky., forecast: Partly cloudy, 75 degrees

1Jules Best5362488-1
2Wild as Elle40--8-1
3Victorious Halo60584630-1
4Winning Season6252-6-1
5Punch Appeal6977822-1
6Im a Dixie Girl9074668-5

Odds by Byron King

Turfway Park: Kentucky Cup Sprint

3-year-olds, 6 furlongs
Approximate post: E-6:45 p.m., C-5:45 p.m., M-4:45 p.m., P-3:45 p.m.; Florence, Ky., forecast: Partly cloudy, 75 degrees

1Swift Attraction78915910-1
2Level Playingfield8882869-2
3Silver Minister7854835-1
5Quick Action71769012-1

Odds by Byron King