08/07/2003 11:00PM

For Rubies out to bounce back

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HENDERSON, Ky. - By winning two races in sensational fashion this spring, For Rubies clearly came to a career peak. But when the filly runs Sunday as the likely favorite in the $100,000 Ellis Park Breeders' Cup, she will be trying to rebound off one of the most disappointing efforts of her career.

Trainer Lynn Whiting shipped For Rubies to Calder for the July 12 Princess Rooney Handicap, and the result was nothing close to how For Rubies had performed in winning her two previous races at Churchill Downs and Arlington Park. After a poor start, For Rubies failed to make much headway, eventually checking in last of eight starters in the Grade 2 Princess Rooney.

Duly regrouped at Churchill by Whiting, For Rubies will return with Craig Perret aboard when she faces six other fillies and mares in the Ellis Park BC, a six-furlong race that highlights a 10-race Sunday card.

Vicki Vallencourt, another 4-year-old filly who came to hand at the Churchill spring meet, is probably the main challenger to For Rubies. Trained by Eddie Kenneally, Vicki Vallencourt has developed a stretch kick that usually makes her a serious threat .

The rest of the field includes Meteor Miracle, Don't Countess Out, Dove Creek, Repository, and Darling Deputy.

This is the 18th running of the Ellis BC, which had been contested at seven furlongs until three years ago. The winner last year was Interest Only, trained by Steve Flint.

First post is 12:40 p.m. Central.

Turfway cuts Kentucky Cup purses

Officials at Turfway Park in Florence, Ky., have released the stakes schedule for its 22-day fall meet, and as usual, the highlight is the five-race Kentucky Cup series.

Citing business difficulties, Turfway has trimmed purses for three of the Kentucky Cup races: the Kentucky Cup Classic is now $350,000, down from $400,000; the Turfway Breeders' Cup is $175,000 (down from $200,000); and the Kentucky Cup Sprint is $100,000 (down from $150,000).

The other Kentucky Cup races are the Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies, still worth $100,000 each.

Because of television considerations, the Kentucky Cup is set for Sept. 13, one week earlier than customary. Three other stakes will be run at the Turfway meet, which runs Sept. 3 to Oct. 3.

The Kentucky Cup turf series at Turfway's sister track, Kentucky Downs, will be run Sept. 20. Purses for that four-race series also are expected to be cut.