08/12/2004 12:00AM

Prince Joseph to use Riviello Stakes as stepping-stone


BENSALEM, Pa. - Local statebred stakes winner Prince Joseph moves into open company on Saturday in the $100,000 Larry R. Riviello Stakes, but his connections have their sights set on a larger goal: the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby on Labor Day.

Prince Joseph, who has made all but one of his nine career starts at his home track of Philadelphia Park, is part of a full field of 13 3-year-olds entered for the Riviello, the local prep race for the Pennsylvania Derby on Sept. 6. Due to the retirement of Smarty Jones, a large field of 3-year-olds is expected on Labor Day. Now, Prince Joseph may be the local 3-year-old with the best chance to turn the Pennsylvania Derby winner's circle celebration into a local affair.

"We have a nice Pa.-bred, but he's definitely not in the company of Smarty Jones," trainer Tony Correnti said with a laugh. "Prince Joseph is not at his full potential right now. He has not yet fully matured, but he will soon."

Prince Joseph enters the Riviello, run at one mile and 70 yards, off consecutive statebred stakes wins in the Peppy Addy on June 19 and the Iroquois Handicap on July 24. The former is a seven-furlong sprint, the latter a 1 1/16-mile route, which shows Prince Joseph's versatility.

Jane's Luck and Judiths Wild Rush ship in from out of town, and both should be well bet. They should also be battling on the front end through quick early fractions, as both horses have posted their most impressive victories in wire-to-wire fashion.

Judiths Wild Rush will likely be favored. Trained by Scott Fairlie, Judiths Wild Rush has won multiple stakes at Woodbine, including the Grade 3 Marine on May 22. Dino Luciani is in from Woodbine to ride.

Jane's Luck is undefeated on the main track in three starts. He has reeled off three wins since the start of his career in late April, capped by the Deputed Testamony Stakes for Maryland-breds at Pimlico on June 5. After a failed turf try in the Virginia Derby on July 10, Jane's Luck returns to the dirt Saturday.

Smarty Jones to parade Saturday

Philadelphia Park will hold a retirement celebration for Smarty Jones on Saturday. The Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner will head to Three Chimneys Farm in Kentucky the following day to begin his stallion career. He was syndicated to Three Chimneys Farm for $39 million following the Belmont Stakes and was retired almost two weeks ago due to chronic bruising in all four ankle joints.

Gates will open to the public at 11 a.m. Smarty Jones will enter the track at the top of the homestretch after the third race, around 1:45 p.m. He will proceed down the length of the stretch, then take a lap around the walking ring before being walked to the winner's circle for a brief ceremony.