10/29/2007 12:00AM

Kip Deville overcomes humble origins

EmailOCEANPORT, N.J. - Okay, so Kip Deville is based in New York with one of the powerhouse stables in American racing, that of Rick Dutrow, but there is no way that any horse in this year's Breeders' Cup came from more obscure origins.

Bred in Oklahoma by the Center Hills Farm, Kip Deville is a son of the $2,500 stallion Kipling and the mare Klondike Kaytie, a daughter of Encino. The horse was "live" on the board in his career debut - an Oklahoma-bred maiden race on Nov. 14, 2005, at Remington Park. He won by more than three lengths. The race's purse was $14,000.

So yes, it's a long way from that spot to the Breeders' Cup Mile, but Kip Deville - in the 21st start of his life, some two years after his Oklahoma kickoff - won that race, too.

However, such a startling climb doesn't come as a tremendous surprise to Mike Netherlin, the guy who picked Kip Deville out of a Texas auction in 2004, broke him as a yearling at his farm in Brock, Texas, and trained him during that first phase of his career. Kip Deville actually cost $20,000 at auction, a pretty sizable sum for a horse of his pedigree.

"I'll give more money if I feel like the conformation is outstanding, and he was such an outstanding individual," Netherlin recalled. "He was about 16-2 [hands] - he looked like a million-dollar horse."

More than that, in fact. Kip Deville earned a check of $1,420,200 for his win Saturday in the Mile, which means his career bankroll is closing in on the $2.5 million mark.

Netherlin still roots for the horse - even suggesting before the BC Mile that Kip Deville ought to revert to the front-running tactics he once employed - but he is now a year and a half removed from the private sale that sent Kip Deville to Dutrow and the IAEH Stables partnership that celebrated in Saturday's sodden winner's circle. Netherlin had bought Kip Deville to pinhook at a 2-year-old sale. He didn't meet his reserve, but wound up part of a private transaction after scoring a four-length win in the Grand Prairie Turf Challenge on April 29 at Lone Star Park. Netherlin is in the business of buying and selling young prospects, and business is business, but still, it's not easy to forget about the one that got away.

"Sure, I kind of I wish I hadn't sold him now," Netherlin said even before Saturday's win.

With Kip Deville's pedigree, and the softness of the U.S. market for turf stallions, Kip Deville seems almost certain to return for another year of racing. Dutrow confirmed as much Monday, while saying that Kip Deville - who came out of his race in good shape - would not start again this season.

"We'll give him a little break," Dutrow said. "Now's the time to do it."

Dutrow also pointed out that the 2008 Breeders' Cup is at Santa Anita, where Kip Deville has won one-mile turf stakes in his two starts.

"We gotta look at that," he said.

Kip Deville had turned in one good start on wet turf and one poor one before Saturday's race, but he skipped easily over the soft Monmouth going, getting a perfect ride from Cornelio Velasquez, who had ridden Kip Deville for the first time when the colt finished second in the Sept. 16 Woodbine Mile.

Velasquez tucked Kip Deville right in behind pacesetting Cosmonaut, who wound up third after setting fractions of 24.26 seconds for the first quarter-mile, 49.55 to the half, and 1:14.65 for three-quarters. As pace-pressing Remarkable News faded at the top of the stretch, it opened a hole for Velasquez; Kip Deville charged through and was uncatchable. He paid $18.40 to win, and was timed in 1:39.78 on the demanding course.

Favored Excellent Art lost little finishing second by a length. Saddled with a very poor draw in post 13, and racing over turf far from the kind of fast going he prefers, the Irish invader still rallied wide under John Murtagh and was gaining on Kip Deville at the finish. Excellent Art is a possible starter in the upcoming Hong Kong Mile. The Hong Kong Jockey Club had offered a $1 million bonus to a horse winning the BC Mile and the Hong Kong Mile, but that money apparently will go unclaimed this year.

Also performing well in defeat was fourth-place Nobiz Like Shobiz, who was making his first start on wet turf. Trainer Barclay Tagg didn't rule out an upcoming start in the Hollywood Derby, and said Nobiz Like Shobiz was likely to return for a 2008 campaign.

- additional reporting by David Grening