11/02/2002 12:00AM

Kimberlite Pipe wires Carey Memorial rivals

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STICKNEY, Ill. - The Canadian shipper Kimberlite Pipe led from start to finish Saturday in the Robert Carey Memorial Handicap, scoring his first graded stakes win since the 1999 Louisiana Derby.

On a turf course that has favored speed the first two days of the Hawthorne meet, Kimberlite Pipe sped to a clear early advantage under jockey Chris Emigh. He took a 1 1/2-length lead into the stretch and held on by a half-length over a group of closers headed by Aslaaf, who had a half-length on the local longshot Major Omansky.

Favored Mystery Giver flattened out late and was seventh, a nose behind the close second-choice, La Reine's Terms.

Sixth in the 1999 Kentucky Derby, Kimberlite Pipe was a struggling horse with 10 straight losses when he was transferred to trainer Michael Wright Jr. in May 2001. Wright focused Kimberlite Pipe on turf racing last season, and the horse wound up having a strong year, winning three races and more than $250,000. But this season the 6-year-old Kimberlite Pipe had struggled, failing even to hit the board in five starts.

"We've hooked some tough horses up at home," assistant trainer Jeff Bowen said. "He's run better than it looks."

A habitual front-runner in turf routes, Kimberlite Pipe figured to have company on the lead Saturday, but none of the other speed horses went with him out of the gate.

"I broke well and got going early, but I had expected there to be others with me," Emigh said. "If another horse was going to fire for the lead, I had planned on dropping back, but when nobody came with me I just kept going."

Kimberlite Pipe ran a quarter-mile in 23.95 seconds and a half in 47.21 while well clear of the pressers, and he responded quickly when Emigh shook him up turning for home to complete the mile over firm turf in 1:35.94.

Owned by John Gunther, Kimberlite Pipe paid $18.20 in his 10th victory in 39 starts.