12/14/2001 12:00AM

Laurel to celebrate Xtra Heat

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Most horses have to wait for their retirement to be recognized with a day in their honor. Not Xtra Heat, who will be feted at her Laurel Park home base on Saturday.

*, second in the Breeders' Cup Sprint and a winner of 17 races from 22 starts, will be paraded following the fifth race and then will pose for photographs in the winner's circle.

Laurel Park management will present Xtra Heat with a Christmas stocking loaded with treats. Her owners, John Salzman, who also is her trainer, Kenneth Taylor and Harry Deitchman, will be given trophies. The filly's regular rider, Rick Wilson, currently sidelined by injury, is also expected to take part in the ceremony.

Fans will receive a free color Xtra Heat button and can take part in a drawing for a photograph of the filly signed by her connections, as well as Xtra Heat T-shirts and caps.

Xtra Heat has won $1,274,150 after being bought for $5,000 at auction last year as a 2-year-old.

Salzman planned on working Xtra Heat this weekend for her next start at Aqueduct in the Interborough Handicap on Jan. 1. Xtra Heat missed the Garland of Roses at Aqueduct on Dec. 8 because of a cough, which was associated with allergies.

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