04/02/2003 12:00AM

Trust N Luck out of Derby

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Trust N Luck, winner of the Grade 1 Fountain of Youth Stakes and second behind Empire Maker in the $1 million Florida Derby, will not start in the 2003 Kentucky Derby, trainer Ralph Ziadie said on Wednesday.

Trust N Luck missed several days of training shortly after the March 15 Florida Derby because of a cough. He returned to the track earlier this week and worked an easy three furlongs at Calder on Wednesday. It was his first official work since the Florida Derby.

Churchill Downs has suspended betting on Trust N Luck in the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, scheduled to open Thursday.

Ziadie said Trust N Luck would run in the Lexington Stakes April 19 at Keeneland and may run in the Preakness Stakes May 17 at Pimlico.

"With my ego, I'd love to go to the Derby," Ziadie said. "But I've got to do what's in the horse's best interests, and that's to run in the Lexington and skip the Derby.

"The Derby gets 20 horses. It's a very hard race and I've seen so many horses who run in the race get knocked out completely for six months unless they are a super horse. My horse is a very nice horse, but he's not a super horse."

Trust N Luck, owned by E. Paul Robsham, first gained national attention by earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 110 when he closed out his 2-year-old campaign with a victory in Calder's What a Pleasure Stakes. He posted a 4 3/4-length victory in his 3-year-old debut in Gulfstream Park's Fountain of Youth, but was a well-beaten second behind Empire Maker as the even-money favorite in the Florida Derby.