09/22/2003 12:00AM

Stroll makes case for trip to Cup


ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Bill Mott has run at least one horse in each of the last 17 runnings of the Breeders' Cup. If he were to keep that streak alive, his representative this year would most likely be Stroll in the Mile.

Stroll registered his fourth consecutive victory on Sunday, slipping through an opening along the rail in upper stretch and drawing clear for a two-length victory in the Grade 2, $200,000 for 3-year-olds at Belmont Park. Kicken Kris, the Grade 1 Secretariat winner, held off Joe Bear, the Secretariat runner-up, for second by a nose.

Stroll, a Claiborne Farm homebred son of Pulpit, added the Jamaica to a resume that includes the Grade 2 National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame Stakes and the Lamplighter Stakes. Overall, he is 5 for 10 - 5 for 7 on turf - and has now earned $326,547. Claiborne Farm owned Lure, who won the Breeders' Cup Mile in 1992 as a 3-year-old and again in 1993 when the event was held at Santa Anita, the site of this year's Breeders' Cup on Oct. 25.

"I don't want to comment [on the Breeders' Cup] right now," Mott said after the Jamaica. "We hadn't planned on being quite that aggressive with him just yet."

Stroll has developed nicely for Mott from a headstrong sort to an animal that will rate. Sunday, he was up close to front-runner Sharp Impact through an opening quarter run in 24.17 seconds, settled into fourth as Lismore Knight and Kicken Kris went up to press Sharp Impact, then came on again under Jerry Bailey, who waited patiently for room. That opening came about when a tiring Sharp Impact came off the rail turning for home.

Stroll ($4.80) covered the nine furlongs in 1:46.02 over a firm inner turf course.

"I was hoping something would open up at the top of the stretch," said Bailey, who won his 55th stakes of the year. "Not many horses would've gone through that hole. The hedge was scraping my boot. You need the horse to get through a hole like that. If you don't, you can look pretty stupid."

Should Mott elect to forego the Breeders' Cup Mile and keep Stroll with 3-year-olds, possible next spots are the $150,000 Oak Tree Derby at Santa Anita on Oct. 4, the $200,000 Calder Derby on Oct. 11, or the $250,000 Hawthorne Derby on Oct. 18.

* Earlier on the card, Travelator ($5.40) rallied past pace-setting Self Rising inside the eighth pole to win the $108,000 Schenectady Handicap for New York-bred fillies and mares by 2 1/2 lengths. Grab Bag, the even-money favorite, got up for second by a neck over Self Rising.

Travelator, a 3-year-old daughter of A.P. Jet owned by Our Sugar Bear Stable and trained by Stanley Hough, covered the six furlongs in 1:10.45 over a fast track.