05/06/2005 11:00PM

Kong takes Lingfield Derby Trial by neck


Kong landed his spot in the June 4 Epsom Derby lineup with a game victory in the Group 3, $113,000 Lingfield Derby Trial on Saturday, holding off the late challenge of favored French invader Walk in the Park by a neck.

A son of Sadler's Wells trained by John Dunlop, Kong (9-2) assumed a narrow lead at the three-sixteenths pole and maintained his edge to the line under an enterprising ride from Richard Quinn. Kong had narrowly lost his last start, a 1 3/8-mile Newbury maiden race on April 15, under what appeared to be an overconfident ride by Quinn.

The winning time for the 1 7/16 miles was 2:34.51 on good ground, nearly 11 seconds off the track record.

Dunlop probably produced a viable candidate for the June 3 English Oaks when Cassydora blasted five rivals in the listed Lingfield Oaks Trial over the same distance as the Derby Trial. Out of Italian 1 1/4-mile Group 1 winner Claxon, Cassydora defeated Seven Magicians by six lengths, traveling the 1 7/16 miles in 2:30.21, or 4.30 seconds faster than the time recorded by Kong.

Ruwi favored to make it 5 for 5

At Longchamp on Monday, Ruwi, trained by Jean-Claude Rouget, will be the odds-on choice to extend his record to five victories without a loss in the Group 2, $154,000 Prix Hocquart. A handy winner on April 10 of the 1 5/16-mile Group 2 Prix Noailles at Longchamp, Ruwi will use the Hocquart as a prep for the 1 5/16-mile French Derby at Chantilly on June 5, although at 1 3/8 miles, it looks more like a prep for Longchamp's June 26 Grand Prix de Paris, which has been newly extended to 1 1/2 miles this year.

Silver Cross, third in the Noailles, will challenge Ruwi again, but the main threat figures to come from the Andre Fabre-trained Hurricane Run. A son of Montjeu, he is 2 for 2 in his brief career, having taken an allowance race last time on April 15 over the Hocquart course and distance.

Magna, Churchill seal pact

Magna Entertainment Corporation and the Churchill Downs Simulcast Network have finalized an agreement that will provide the British racing network At The Races with exclusive coverage from many of America's leading racetracks.

The deal, announced Saturday by At The Races, includes the remainder of the Churchill Downs spring-summer meeting, with coverage having begun on Saturday, Kentucky Derby Day. Other tracks in the package are Gulfstream Park, Great Lakes Downs, Golden Gate, Lone Star Park, Portland Meadows, Remington Park, Santa Anita, The Meadows, Thistledown, Flamboro Downs, Hollywood Park, Pimlico, Ellis Park, Calder, and Hoosier Park.

British and Irish bettors will be able to wager on races at these tracks with any bookmakers who are under contract with The Racing Network International, whose FastBet software enables money wagered in the UK and Ireland to be funneled back into pools in the United States. Those bookmakers currently include Ladbrokes, SkyBet, Blue Square, and BetDirect.

Matthew Imi, chief executive of At The Races., said, "Together with our international wagering partner TRNI and UK bookmaker partners, we fully intend to continue to bring to the attention of UK viewers and punters the attraction of high-quality U.S. racing."