10/15/2001 11:00PM

A more reasonable spot for Mister Kick

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ELMONT, N.Y. - It would be a mild understatement to say that Mister Kick was ambitiously placed when he made his United States debut in April's Grade 1 San Juan Capistrano at Santa Anita.

Mister Kick was making his first start since last November over a firm turf course that he had never raced over while facing the best turf marathoner in the country in Bienamado. That he finished fourth, beaten 11 lengths in the 10-horse field, may be viewed as something of an accomplishment.

Thursday, Mister Kick finds himself in a much easier spot, a preliminary allowance on the turf at 1 1/4 miles, which serves as Belmont Park's featured race on a nine-race card.

Moreover, Mister Kick will be saddled for the first time by Neil Drysdale, who from 15 starters at this meet has a record of 5-7-1. Mister Kick, an Irish-bred son of Linamix, has been training exceedingly well in the morning over Belmont's turf course and will get the services of Gary Stevens from post 9. He will also run on Lasix for the first time.

While in France, Mister Kick raced under trainer Andre Fabre. He had a record of 1-4-1 from nine starts, but finished second in a pair of Group 3 races at Chantilly and Longchamp. He is a true stayer in a field filled with question marks at 10 furlongs.

Reduit, a 3-year-old son of Lion Cavern, just missed beating older horses at this level on Sept. 8. In that nine-furlong race, he had to deal with traffic trouble and a slow pace, and missed by a head to the Drysdale-trained Mister Approval. Jerry Bailey, this meet's leading jockey, rides Reduit back.

While in France with trainer Gerard Butler, Reduit was talented enough to finish second in the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud.

The apparent lack of pace in the field could make Thunders Luck a live longshot. A New York-bred gelded son of Thunder Puddles, Thunders Luck nearly stole a second-level open-company allowance race over this course and distance in July. He had to settle for second at 20-1. Edgar Prado rides from post 4.

Other contenders include Gilded Emperor, Khatef, and Daring Bid.

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