11/07/2002 12:00AM

Lake finally passes Asmussen on the lead


For most of the season, Scott Lake has been chasing Steve Asmussen in the national race for most wins by a trainer. Playing catch-up became all the more difficult when Lake had to serve a pair of 10-day suspensions in June.

Now, with less than two months remaining, Lake has finally overtaken Asmussen in his quest to finish as the country's winningest trainer for the third straight year.

The two horsemen were tied after last weekend, but Lake opened up a 336-329 lead by winning a race Monday at Delaware Park with Jetabud ($4.80) and another at Philadelphia Park with Wild American ($3.20). Lake then collected two more wins Tuesday at Philly Park and three on Wednesday - two at Delaware and the other at The Meadowlands. Asmussen was blanked the first three days of the week.

Now that he has taken over first place, Lake said he intends to remain there.

"It's been a hard road to catch Asmussen, but I don't think we will have any problems staying in front of him now," said Lake, who won 407 races last year and 337 in 2000. "I lost 30 wins when I did my days, so we could have been well in front of him."

Lake is also well on his way to winning his first training title at Delaware Park, where he leads Mark Shuman, 82-67, with seven days left in the meet.

"We're starting to get a lot more horses in now. I'm sure it will hurt a little bit when Delaware closes," Lake said. "We will probably have horses running over top of each other in other spots, but we should be able to stay in front of him [Asmussen]."

Virginia 2-year-old stakes

For the second straight year, the Virginia Breeders' Fund and Delaware Park have combined to stage a pair of $40,000-added stakes races during late fall for 2-year-olds.

Saturday, Delaware will serve as host for the M. Tyson Gilpin and Hildene stakes, both at six furlongs. The track and the breeders' fund split the cost of the purse.

The Gilpin and Hildene are restricted to horses either bred or sired in Virginia.

Few of the colts and fillies in the two Virginia stakes have done much in their career. In fact, eight of the 12 in the Gilpin are maidens, including three first-time starters. Three of the seven fillies in the Hildene are maidens.

The most accomplished runner in either field is the filly Little Miss Pamela. Trained by Richard Trimmer, Little Miss Pamela won a turf sprint stakes at Colonial Downs and most recently placed in the one-mile Salem County at The Meadowlands. All four of her lifetime starts have been over turf, however, so her dirt form is unknown.

Charmie's Secret has the advantage of a win over the course. She wired maiden claimers by 11 lengths on Oct. 21, earning a 60 Beyer Speed Figure.

In the 12-horse Gilpin, Overpass looks like the horse to beat. His only win in five starts came at Delaware in his career debut, but he has recently been flashing speed against open allowance company in New York.

The next fastest horse in the field, with a Beyer 18 points below Overpass's best, is Krebsie. He's back a week after beating maiden claimers by a neck.