11/12/2002 1:00AM

Mott gets shots at nostalgia


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - You know a trainer has attained icon status when he wins a race named for a horse he trained many years ago.

Bill Mott, the Hall of Fame trainer who began winning races in bunches at Churchill Downs in the early 1970's, will try to pull off such a feat twice this week.

Thursday, Mott, whose local string of horses is trained by longtime assistant Ralph Nicks, will be represented by Sluice in the eighth-race feature, a $59,500 allowance named the Bail Out Becky. Mott and Nicks trained Bail Out Becky in the mid-1990's, when the filly was a stakes winner for Ken and Sarah Ramsey.

Bail Out Becky is recent news compared to Mrs. Revere, the filly with whom Mott won three Churchill stakes in 1984. Saturday, Mott is expected to send out three horses in the Grade 2, $150,000 Mrs. Revere Stakes.

The Thursday feature drew a field of 10, although probably only eight or fewer will start. Victory at Sea and Bold Bluff were designated as "main track only," meaning the field will be reduced by two if the race remains as scheduled at 1 1/16 miles on turf. A move to the main track probably would reduce the field by even greater numbers.

Sluice, with Pat Day to ride, has been consistent, if not spectacularly successful, in her 22-race career for Mott and Nicks. She drew the outside post in a race that also has Bold Answer and Four Plus Four as major contenders.

One other allowance (race seven) also is carded Thursday, which begins the second half of the meet as the 16th of 30 programs. First post is 12:40 p.m. Eastern.

The Mott horses likely to run in the Mrs. Revere are Styleistick, Showlady, and High Maintenance. Partly because the 1 1/16-mile turf race is restricted to 3-year-old fillies, a sizable field appears likely.

* The Sunday feature is the $150,000 River City Handicap, a Grade 3 race for older horses at 1 1/8 miles on turf. Probables include Moon Solitaire, Pisces, Jake the Flake, Roxinho, Dynameaux, X Country, and defending champion Dr. Kashnikow.

* Day rode four winners Monday to increase his lead atop the jockey standings. Day, who holds virtually every riding record at Churchill, won the second, sixth, seventh, and eighth races. He missed winning the featured ninth when his mount, May Gator, was beaten a neck by Hi Tech Honeycomb. He leads John McKee by a 23-15 count.

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