12/13/2002 12:00AM

Longshot bettor's day to remember at Turfway


LEXINGTON, Ky. - What is the biggest longshot day you have ever seen at a Thoroughbred race meet? If the win payoffs added up to something in the neighborhood of $250, that would be a pretty good day. Anything more than $350 is remarkable. Crack the $400 barrier, and you are pushing the envelope of believability.

The payoffs at Turfway Park on Dec. 7 made $400 seem like chump change. Although it is tempting to say that Christmas came early for longshot bettors on that day, it was more like the Fourth of July, with explosive longshot payoffs in 10 of the 12 races offered. Total win payoffs added up to an unbelievable $572.40, for an average of $47.70 per race. Five of those winners paid more than $50.

Turfway has a reputation for being a speed-favoring track. A check of the last five race cards through Thursday shows that it has been playing much fairer than usual, with 22 winners located in the front half of the field at the first call from 45 races. Nevertheless, of those 22 winners, 10 of them led early, so there is still merit to the idea that front-runners are dangerous. Five front-runners won on this card, but despite the fact that many bettors are looking to bet the speed at Turfway, four of the front-running winners paid long prices: $88.80, $66.40, $51.20, and $26.60. Were these winners and the other successful longshots on this card really as hard to come up with as their large payoffs suggest? Some were, some weren't.

Tommy's Lil Car was a first-time starter in the first, a $7,500 maiden claiming race for 2-year-olds. His fastest work was an ordinary half-mile breeze in 50.20 seconds. Trainer David Paulus had won with only 8 percent of 24 previous debuting runners, with a $1.43 ROI that was nothing to write home about. Those stats improved considerably when Tommy's Lil Car paid $26.60, and keyed a $6,720.80 superfecta.

Foxzy Lady had managed only a 12 Beyer while losing her debut by 23 3/4 lengths at Hoosier. But the good news was that the top last race Beyer in this field was only a 25. The drop from that $15,000 maiden claiming race into this $7,500 field of 2-year-olds, and the addition of Lasix, did the trick. Although she had not been closer to the leader than 11 lengths first time out, Foxzy Lady took her field gate to wire, and returned $51.20. The lone winning superfecta ticket paid $12,116.50 for $1.

Deon had won just 3 of 43 career starts, and her last Beyer was only 12 - 7 points lower than that of 5-2 favorite Sheikh'nnotstirred, who had finished fourth in a slow $7,500 claiming race last time at Churchill. Deon made up the gap when she rallied from far back to register a $79 upset.

Front-running longshot Positive Spirit held on to finish second at 25-1. The exacta paid $1,388.60. The superfecta was hit only once, for $1. It returned $9,298.30. The pick three paid $19,777.60.

Springs Eternal was a logical contender, and paid only $9.20 in the fourth. But the string of upsets continued in the fifth when Yoren, who had finished last of 12 at Churchill in an $80,000 maiden claiming race, led throughout and scored at $66.40 in a maiden special. Again, the superfecta was hit only once, for $1. The lucky winner received $18,421.20.

Bunny Run had tired in a $30,000 claiming race at Churchill in his return from a two-month layoff. Apparently, that race set him up nicely for his 5 1/4-length victory at that same class level in the sixth. He paid $48.80. The superfecta paid $11,737.40.

Revolver Two had lost his first four starts by a combined margin of 101 lengths. To his credit, his Beyer pattern in his last three starts read 0-31-52. That improvement continued when he lead all of the way in the seventh, a one-mile maiden special for 2-year-olds. Win bettors received $88.80. The superfecta was hit for $1, and paid $31,086.10.

Miner Moss had won only 1 of 11 previous races. But he had earned his career-best Beyer in his most recent start at Turfway, on Sept. 12. He improved his record to 3-2-0-0 at Turfway when he paid $24 in the eighth, an allowance N1X for 2-year-olds. By that point in the card, the $6,838.40 superfecta seemed almost chalky.

Mystics Blue Rose had dueled, then faded while finishing fifth behind Freefourracing and Gal on the Go. The drop into an allowance N3X was all she needed, and she won going away in the ninth, returning $21.40. The superfecta paid $5,692.60.

The 10th was the Holiday Inaugural, and it proved to be a formful race when Emily Ring won as the second betting choice at $8.60. The chaos resumed in the 11th when Risen Ruckus, who was 11-0-0-0 at Turfway, 22-1-0-2 on his career, and who had lost his last 10 races by a sum of 152 1/2 lengths, won by 1 3/4 lengths, at $128. Crew Cut was second at 12-1, and 25-1 outsider Explodo Red was third. The $12,045.40 trifecta payoff was similar to the $13,201.60 superfecta price because nobody held a winning superfecta ticket that included the fourth horse, Devilwithoutacause, who was only 4-1.

Lady of Savoya lost her first five races by a total 131 1/4 lengths. The class drop from $17,500 to $7,500 enabled her to win the 12th at $20.40. She was followed home by longshots who were 24-1, 23-1, and 9-1. The superfecta was hit for $1, and paid $17,606.10.