07/25/2002 12:00AM

No Parole no cinch in New York Derby


No Parole, the upset winner of the Mike Lee, will try to win the second leg of the Big Apple Triple on Saturday in the $125,000-added New York Derby at Finger Lakes.

If No Parole captures the 1 1/16-mile New York Derby and returns to win the third leg of the series, the $150,000 Albany at Saratoga on Aug. 21, the colt's owner, Thomas Mina, will claim a $250,000 bonus.

Seven New York-bred 3-year-olds were entered in the New York Derby, including the Steve Asmussen-trained Private Emblem. Asmussen leads the country in wins and is second in money won.

There are some reasons to pick against No Parole despite the ease of his 2 3/4-length win in the seven-furlong Mike Lee at Belmont Park. No Parole, a son of champion sprinter Lit de Justice, hasn't won beyond seven furlongs and he will face Arkansas Derby winner Private Emblem, who had an excuse in the Mike Lee when third after a traffic-plagued trip.

Shaun Bridgmohan rides No Parole, who is trained by Joe Aquilino. No Parole drew the rail and carries 124 pounds, seven more than Private Emblem.

Aquilino said he was pleased with No Parole's three races in routes, even if they didn't result in wins. In one of the colt's two-turn starts, he finished third against open company in Aqueduct's Count Fleet. No Parole also was third in the restricted Damon Runyon.

"They were okay efforts, nothing super, but he did run against some nice open horses," Aquilino said.

Asmussen said little went right for Private Emblem, who drew the rail in the 10-horse Mike Lee. It was the first race for Private Emblem, an Our Emblem colt, since he finished 14th in the Kentucky Derby.

"Nothing went his own way," Asmussen said of Private Emblem's 2 3/4-length loss as the favorite in the Mike Lee. "I think he can be competitive against these horses and I'm excited about Saturday. He's been sharp and training well."

Asmussen will send assistant Scott Blasi to Finger Lakes to saddle Private Emblem, who will be ridden by Donnie Meche from post 4.

Trial Prep, the Mike Lee runner-up, must be respected. The Ormsby colt, who is trained by Richard Dutrow Jr., is a restricted stakes winner at a mile. John Grabowski, the leading rider at Finger Lakes, has the mount.

Smokieisabandit, a horse for the course, was no match for the top three in the Mike Lee and finished fifth. Smokieisabandit, who is unraced around two turns, returned to win the six-furlong Ontario County Stakes at Finger Lakes.

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