03/03/2003 12:00AM

Statement wins third in row


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Statement kept his perfect record at Gulfstream Park intact Monday by splitting horses under Eibar Coa and out-sprinting Baseball Champion to the wire to win Wednesday's featured $42,000 allowance race by 1 3/4 lengths. It was three-quarters of a length back to Honor in War in third.

The fourth-level allowance race saw the U.S. debut of No Excuse Needed, a multiple Group 2 winner in Europe. But No Excuse Needed was never really involved and finished fifth, beaten six lengths.

Statement, a 5-year-old New York-bred son of Seattle Slew, has won his last three starts - all at Gulfstream Park. He was away from the races for a year with myriad problems, but has returned with two strong performances at this meet.

Statement, trained by John Kimmel, covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.02 over firm turf and returned $21.80 to win.