06/13/2001 11:00PM

Kid Copper skipping Derby run

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CALGARY, Alberta - Trainer Dale Greenwood had serious thoughts about running Kid Copper in Saturday's Alberta Derby but has opted for a much easier spot in a one-mile optional claimer that runs as the seventh race at Stampede Park on Friday.

The lure of the $100,000 Alberta Derby was strong, but the prospect of a short field and an $18,100 purse swayed Greenwood in this direction.

Kid Copper, a Kentucky-bred son of Leo Castelli, has come to hand this spring under patient handling and will be making his fourth start of the meet.

In his first try at a mile, on May 13, the colt came from dead last to post an easy tally under Chris McGregor, and he returned to run a closing third in the one-mile Hoofprint on My Heart two weeks later.

That handicap was won by Alberta Derby favorite Fancy As, and Greenwood will wait a while before tackling him again. The nonwinners-of-two-other-than maiden or claiming condition on Friday suits Kid Copper at this stage of the game, and he will start as the favorite in the field of five.

The presence of Bold Debut, who will be trying a mile for the first time after leading all the way in a sprint here June 1, ensures a lively pace. Ready Bet and Harbour Ice figure to be tracking early, with Delta Epsilon and Kid Copper as the trailers.

Delta Epsilon appears to be the biggest threat to foil Kid Copper. When the two met here May 13, Delta Epsilon made an early bid along the backstretch and surged to the front at the quarter pole. McGregor was more patient aboard Kid Copper and ran by his rival inside the eighth pole for a 5 1/2-length tally.