05/21/2001 12:00AM

Top jockeys battle in Riding Cup IV

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ALTOONA, Iowa - Six of the nation's leading riders invade Prairie Meadows Monday afternoon for the fourth annual Riding Cup.

Riding assignments for the three races were drawn by lot Friday. Laffit Pincay Jr., racing's all-time leading rider, leads Team West. Pincay is joined by Corey Nakatani, Victor Espinoza, and Terry Thompson, the meet-leading jock at Prairie Meadows.

Team East consists of Hall of Famers Pat Day and Jerry Bailey, Jorge Chavez, and Luis Quinonez, who is second in the standings here.

Day, Bailey, and Pincay have taken part in all three of the previous Riding Cups, with Day having been on the winning team each year. Team East captured the first two Riding Cups in 1998 and 1999. Last year, the format was switched to three teams with the addition of a victorious Team Midwest, which consisted of Day, Thompson, and Shane Sellers.

The winner of each race gets 1 point, the second-place finisher 2 points, the third-place finisher 3 points, and on to the last-place finisher. The team with the lowest point total at the end of the three races is the winner.

Riding Cup IV will be held on races five, seven and nine of a 10-race program, which begins at 4:30 p.m. An autograph session will be held on the track apron from 4:30-5:30.

Also on Monday's card is the $60,000 Prairie Mile for 3-year-olds, which drew a field of eight.

Successful claims Solingen and Junior Deputy face stakes winners Compendium and One Special Judge among others in the Mile.

Solingen has won three of six starts since being claimed for $50,000 last October. Most recently, the Mike Natale-trained Solingen finished sixth in the Lone Star Derby.

Junior Deputy has scored two straight front-running wins since being claimed in February at Gulfstream. He tries two turns and stakes company for the first time Monday for trainer David Fawkes. Bailey has a return call aboard Junior Deputy.

Compendium has won three of his five career starts for trainer Steve Asmussen, including the Northern Spur Stakes at Oaklawn in his most recent start on April 13.

* Runaway Verdict and Wild Gear, who are both undefeated in two career starts, will meet in the $54,900 Manor Downs Futurity on Monday night at Retama Park near San Antonio.