07/12/2008 12:00AM

Tin Cup Chalice: Two down, one to go

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The undefeated Tin Cup Chalice stretched his win streak to six, capturing the $159,600 New York Derby for 3-year-old New York-breds on Saturday at Finger Lakers by 1 1/2 lengths over a dogged Almighty Silver.

The victory, combined with a win in the Mike Lee at Belmont in June, gives Tin Cup Chalice the first two legs of the Big Apple Triple. The final leg of the series, which is restricted 3-year-old New York-breds, is the Albany Stakes at Saratoga on Aug.o20. There is a $250,000 bonus for sweeping the series, which began in 1999 and has never been won.

Making his first start in a two-turn race, Tin Cup Chalice went right to the front under regular rider Pedro Rodriguez and led every step, covering the 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.97. Almighty Silver sat last in the field of six early on, moved from fifth to second at the head of the stretch, tipped out off the rail, and pressed the winner to the wire while finishing nine lengths in front of That'srightofficer in third.

Bred, trained, and co-owned by Michael Lecesse, Tin Cup Chalice earned $95,760, raising his career total to $225,720.

Earlier on the card, Karakorum Katie - beaten a total of 40 1/2 lengths at Belmont Park in her previous three starts - shipped in for trainer Jimmy Jerkens, was bet down to 6-5, and won the $50,000 Niagara Stakes for statebred 3-year-old fillies by a nose over 7-5 second-choice Afleet Alexander.

Leading rider John Davila, Jr. rode Karakorum Katie, who ran the six furlongs in 1:12.11 and paid $4.50.

Amalfi Drive led till deep stretch when Karakorum Katie and Afleet Alexandra came charging in tandem side-by-side, went by, and hit the wire together in a very tight photo.