11/02/2002 1:00AM

Red Bullet sails in return race


Red Bullet delivered the kind of performance his connections wanted to see in his return to the races after a long layoff Saturday at Delaware Park.

Making his first start since late March, Red Bullet ($5.40) came flying through the stretch to draw off to a 2 1/2-length victory in the $61,100 Foggy Road Stakes.

New York-based trainer Joe Orseno shipped Red Bullet to Delaware for the six-furlong stakes in order to give the 2000 Preakness winner a prep for the Nov. 30 Cigar Mile.

Red Bullet, bet down to 8-5 favoritism after hovering as high as 3-1 with less than 10 minutes to post time, stalked a hot pace of 21.88 and 44.73 seconds set by Rusty Spur and Rudirudy. Jockey Mike McCarthy had to take Red Bullet four wide while advancing on the leaders turning for home. With a furlong remaining, Rusty Spur still held a 1 1/2-length lead, but Red Bullet blew past him for his first victory since July 2001.

"I was really pleased with his effort," said Orseno, who made the trip to Delaware to watch Red Bullet. "There was a lot of speed in this race and I told Mike that I didn't want to get involved in that. I told him to just sit in the second tier and let him relax and, hopefully, once the running starts, he will kick in. Sure enough, he did his job.

"Mike said that he did not even really have to hit him. He hit him one time just to remind him and the horse took off. He let him gallop out nice and we should be ready for the Cigar Mile off of this."

The final furlong was clocked in 12.37 seconds, meaning Red Bullet covered the distance in a shade under 12 seconds.