10/10/2002 11:00PM

There's still some time to shop for Breeders' Cup bargains


With the advent of the Breeders' Cup parimutuel futures pools inaugurated this year, advance wagering for America's championship day at the races has expanded to allow fans of the futures game a chance to compare prices with the traditional fixed-odds offerings at Nevada race books.

Not long ago, only Caliente racetrack and its Mexican network of books and a few Nevada sites offered futures wagering on selected major North American races, such as the Kentucky Derby and Santa Anita Handicap, and now the Breeders' Cup races. Futures action has blossomed into a growing attraction, not to mention the illegal website offerings on the Internet.

But, with less than two weeks to the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Arlington Park on Oct. 26, and pre-entries being taken at midweek, just what bargains - if any - are still available at the two Las Vegas future books? With the Breeders' Cup parimutuel pools now closed and most of the recent prep race winners bet down in Las Vegas books, the final wave of prep races may hold the last chance for a good price on a Breeders' Cup runner.

Taking 18 races from the tsunami of Breeders' Cup prep races conducted over the past weekend, here are some comparison odds. Although the Las Vegas fixed odds offerings are the only ones still open, remember that the fixed odds quotes can change - as they say in the advertising business - without notice. All current odds are at Bally's unless otherwise noted.

Classic: Goodwood Handicap winner Pleasantly Perfect was 6-1 as part of the field in Pool 1 and 20-1 in Pool 2. He is now 8-1 at Bally's and 5-1 at Coasts Casinos. Meadowlands Cup runner-up Volponi, 6-1 as part of the field in Pool 1, 20-1 in Pool 4, is now 40-1.

Distaff: Lady's Secret Handicap winner Azeri 5-2 in Pool 1, is offered at 2-1 at Bally's and 9-5 at Coasts. Beldame winner Imperial Gesture, 30-1 in Pool 1, is down to 4-1 at Bally's and 3-1 at Coasts. Spinster winner Take Charge Lady, 14-1 in Pool 3, is 5-1 at Bally's and 5-2 at Coasts.

Mile: Kelso Handicap winner Green Fee, 2-1 as part of the field in Pool 2, is now 35-1. Third-place Forbidden Apple, 20-1 in Pool 2, is 5-1. Oak Tree Mile winner Night Patrol, a 2-1 field bet in Pool 2, is 12-1. Shadwell Turf Mile winner Landseer, 30-1 in Pool 2, is down to 8-1.

Sprint: Phoenix Handicap winner Xtra Heat, 14-1 in pools 1 and 3, is now only 5-1 at Bally's, but 10-1 at Coasts.

Filly and Mare Turf: WinStar Galaxy winner Owsley was 80-1 in Pool 2, but has plunged to 18-1. Yellow Ribbon winner Golden Apples, has gone from 7-1 in Pool 2 to 4-1, while third-place finisher Banks Hill, 12-1 in Pool 2, is currently 7-1 .

Turf: Clement L. Hirsch Memorial Turf Championship winner The Tin Man, part of the 4-1 field in Pool 2, still has no quotes in Las Vegas while third-place finisher Sarafan, 35-1 in Pool 2, is down to 12-1. Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Marienbard, 4-1 as part of the Pool 2 field, is 7-1.

Juvenile Fillies: Walmac International Alcibiades Stakes winner Westerly Breeze, 10-1 as part of the Pool 4 field, can be bet at 18-1. Third-place finisher Ruby's Reception, 50-1 in Pool 4, is now 25-1. Frizette Stakes winner Storm Flag Flying has gone up slightly to 9-5 after finishing at 7-5 in Pool 4. Runner-up Santa Catarina, 5-1 in Pool 4, is 2-1. Oak Leaf Stakes winner Composure remains at 10-1 after also closing at 10-1 in the Pool 4 field.

Juvenile: Champagne winner Toccet, 11-1 in the Pool 4 field, is now 20-1. Lane's End Breeders' Futurity winner Sky Mesa has dropped to 7-5 after closing at 9-2 in Pool 4. Norfolk Stakes winner Kafwain, 30-1 in Pool 4 , has plunged to 7-1. Runner-up Bull Market, has gone from 35-1 in Pool 4 to 10-1. Third-place finisher Listen Indy is available at 18-1.

Ralph Siraco is turf editor for the Las Vegas Sun and host of the Race Day Las Vegas radio show.