09/17/2002 11:00PM

Red Mountain follows proven path to marathon


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - One of the most emotional victories Hal Wiggins has experienced in nearly 30 years of training racehorses came last September, when Chorwon roared from behind to win the $300,000 Kentucky Cup Turf at Kentucky Downs.

Wiggins had trained Chorwon, then 8, for the horse's entire career, and the Kentucky Cup Turf was the richest win of the horse's career.

Saturday, Wiggins will be back at Kentucky Downs in Franklin, Ky., although not with Chorwon, who has been retired. Wiggins will saddle Red Mountain, one of the lesser lights in a field of about nine older horses expected for the 1 1/2-mile Turf, the showpiece event in the four-race, $700,000 series at the turf-only course.

"I guess I just can't stay away," Wiggins said Wednesday with a chuckle. "I love those horses that can get a mile and a half."

Red Mountain will carry 113 pounds in the Turf, five fewer than the expected topweight, Cetewayo. The other horses expected to run are Continental Red, Grammarian, Rochester, Deputy Strike, Riddlesdown, Homeland, and Nowrass.

Like Chorwon, Red Mountain, now 5, has been under Wiggins's care since he was a baby. "He loves to go a route of ground," said Wiggins. "We did the same thing with him that we did last year with Chorwon, and that's give him a prep in the Tri-State" Handicap at Ellis, a Sept. 2 race in which the horse finished second. "Hopefully, we'll get the same kind of results."

Wiggins said Red Mountain is less accomplished "and may not be the same quality horse that Chorwon was," but that "it took Chorwon until he was 4 or 5 to really come around. Sometimes these colts take quite a while to mature, and that seems to be the way this horse is. He'll run all day, so we feel like it's worth taking a shot Saturday."

Entries for the Turf and the other three Kentucky Cup events were to be drawn Thursday. In those other races:

* Wiggins also has a major contender for the secondary feature, the $200,000 Mile, which appears to be shaping up with a small- to mid-sized field. Other probables for the Mile include Glick, Jadada, and Pyrus, while Cheshire, Pisces, and Royal Spy are possible starters.

* The $100,000, one-mile Ladies Turf might be the best betting race of the series. Kentucky Downs racing secretary Rick Leigh said the maximum of 12 starters may pass the entry box, with La Recherche and Solvig the likely favorites.

Other probables are Bail Money, Curious Conundrum, Doubly Fun, Littleriverqueen, Persian Silver, Sluice, and Vegetarian.

* Although he will not send Morluc after a second win in the $100,000 Turf Dash, trainer Randy Morse still has a top contender in the 3-year-old Mighty Beau. Morse also has Brown Eyed Major as a possible starter for the six-furlong race. Other probables are Aloha Bold, Honor Me and Red Lightning.

The Kentucky Cup and two other Kentucky Downs races will be combined with 10 races from Turfway Park, making for a 16-race Saturday card. The Turfway feature, the $75,000 Marfa Stakes, is expected to get at least eight older sprinters, headed by Binthebest, Kazoo, Sea of Tranquility, and Slider.