10/23/2002 12:00AM

Marino Marini bats leadoff for Euro invaders

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ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Marino Marini, who was pre-entered for Saturday's Breeders' Cup Juvenile but failed to draw into the field, will start in Friday's $100,000 Gilded Time Stakes after being supplemented for $4,000 on Wednesday.

Trained by Aidan O'Brien, Marino Marini will make his first start on dirt in the seven-furlong Gilded Time Stakes for 2-year-olds.

The Gilded Time Stakes is one of three $100,000 stakes on Friday's program. The card also includes the Estrapade Handicap for fillies and mares over 1 1/16 miles on turf and the John Henry Handicap over 1 3/16 miles on turf.

Marino Marini has made five starts in England and Ireland. He won the Marble Hill Stakes in Ireland last May, but has lost his last three starts, all in group stakes.

Marino Marini will face the promising sprinters Omega Code and Cat Genius, the latter of whom has yet to be tested following wins in his first two starts.

In his debut at Mountaineer Park on Aug. 11, Cat Genius won a maiden race over 4 1/2 furlongs by 10 1/4 lengths. On Sept. 20 at Arlington Park, Cat Genius won a first-condition allowance race over six furlongs by 11 3/4 lengths.

"We have a lot of confidence in him," trainer Tom Amoss said. "He definitely slants toward speed, but I'd like to see what he can do."

Owned by John Parker, Cat Genius led in his first two starts, but is unlikely to have the advantage in the Gilded Times Stakes. The field includes the wickedly fast Omega Code, who set a track record with a front-running win in the Ron and Jess Cloud Memorial Stakes at the Big Fresno Fair in California on Oct. 5.

The field also includes Desert Warrior, who was well-beaten in the Saratoga Special and Champagne Stakes.

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