07/16/2003 11:00PM

Motion uses Alternate plan


Trainer Graham Motion admits Alternate isn't the horse he really wanted to run in Saturday's Robert G. Dick Memorial Breeders' Cup Handicap. In fact, Alternate has never even won on turf, which puts her at a distinct disadvantage in the 1 3/8-mile grass race at Delaware Park.

But if Motion's hunch is correct, the extra distance she will be asked to run could be what Alternate needs to pull an upset in the $150,000 Robert Dick, one of two stakes on the undercard of a 10-race program highlighted by the $500,000 Delaware Oaks.

Motion intended to enter New Economy, whose four turf victories include the Grade 2 La Prevoyante Handicap and last year's Dick, but when she developed a foot abscess several days ago, he switched to plan B.

Alternate, a 4-year-old Seattle Slew filly, encountered trouble in her only previous two tries on turf, both against allowance company at Gulfstream Park. In both races, one at 1 1/16 miles and one at a mile, Alternate was beaten less than two lengths.

"I thought her grass races were pretty good," said Motion. "Her chances may have been compromised because we were running a little too short. We think a mile and three-eighths will really suit her. Because of her pedigree and her running style, she seems to me a filly who should do better going longer."

The lukewarm favorite in a full field of 12, plus two also-eligibles, is 5-year-old San Dare, who has been consistently picking up checks against Grade 2 and Grade 3 runners. She was at her sharpest last winter at Gulfstream, where she won back-to-back Grade 3 stakes, including The Very One at 1 3/8 miles.

Most recently, San Dare finished a close fourth following a wide trip against African superstar Ipi Tombe in the Grade 3 Locust Grove at Churchill Downs. San Dare, ridden by her regular rider, Mark Guidry, must break from post 12.

Private Lap, who posted back-to-back Beyer Speed Figures of 110 and 112 over sloppy tracks in his last two races, heads a field of nine older horses in the $100,000 R.R.M. Carpenter Memorial Handicap at 1 1/16 miles.

Most recently, Private Lap finished a neck behind Bowman's Band in the one-mile Brandywine Handicap - his only loss in four career starts at Delaware.

The chief threat to Private Lap is Runspastum, who comes off a win in last month's Grade 3 Oceanport Handicap at Monmouth Park.