11/04/2006 1:00AM

Pace sets up winning rally for Red Rocks

Red Rocks, ridden by Frankie Dettori, takes command in the stretch and scores a half-length upset in the Turf.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Red Rocks gave jockey Frankie Dettori his second Breeders' Cup win of the day and his third career victory in the when he gamely held off Better Talk Now in the final furlong to win the $3 million race Saturday at Churchill Downs.

Red Rocks got a clean trip from far off a solid pace set by longshot Icy Atlantic. Red Rocks circled the field and launched his bid leaving the backstretch, and he was able to finish a half-length clear of Better Talk Now. English Channel, the 7-2 second choice, finished third, another 2 1/4 lengths ahead of Rush Bay in a field of 11.

Red Rocks, owned by J. Paul Reddam and based in Ireland with trainer Brian Meehan, returned $23.60 as fifth choice after finishing 1 1/2 miles in 2:27.32 over a course rated firm.

"When I made my move, when I wanted him to go, we moved together," said Dettori, 35.

Better Talk Now, the 2004 Turf winner, made a menacing outside run under Ramon Dominguez as the field passed the furlong pole, but he was unable to get past Red Rocks.

The Turf clearly was a disappointment for Hurricane Run, the 5-2 favorite, and Cacique, the 7-2 third choice. They finished sixth and 10th, respectively, both without an apparent excuse.

The victory marked the seventh in the last eight years for a European horse in America's richest grass race. That streak also includes a dead heat in 2003 between High Chaparral of Ireland and Johar of Southern California.

Icy Atlantic, a 77-1 shot, set fractions of 24.13, 47.87, and 1:12.40 in the Turf, and Rush Bay led the closest pursuers. While stalkers such as English Channel, Scorpion, and Cacique loomed as major threats, it became apparent in the early stretch that rallies by Red Rocks and Better Talk Now would be the decisive moves.

Red Rocks, a 3-year-old Irish-bred by Galileo, had won 2 of 9 previous starts. Treated with the bleeder medication Lasix for the first time Saturday, he became the sixth 3-year-old to win the Turf, and the fourth from Europe.

"Brian had been very high on this colt all year," said Reddam, a California-based owner with substantial Thoroughbred holdings. Reddam said Meehan had talked about running Red Rocks in bigger races overseas, but when the subject of the BC Turf arose, Meehan "thought I'd like that, and I did."

Dettori's two Breeders' Cup wins Saturday - he also won the Filly and Mare Turf - give him six overall BC victories, the most for any European-based jockey. Dettori's other Turf wins came in 1999 with Daylami and in 2001 with Fantastic Light.

Meehan, a 39-year-old native of England, said Red Rocks will run next year as a 4-year-old. The first major goal will be one of the Dubai grass races in late March, said Reddam.