11/11/2002 1:00AM

Victory Ride to meet Storm Cat

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Grade 1 winner Victory Ride, retired after her third-place finish in Saturday's Grade 2 Churchill Downs Distaff, will be bred to Storm Cat in 2003, owner G. Watts Humphrey Jr. said Monday.

The mating plan came one day after trainer Rusty Arnold told reporters Saturday that the 4-year-old Seeking the Gold filly would retire.

Unraced at 2, Victory Ride proved herself among the best of last year's 3-year-olds with her win in the Grade 1 Test Stakes at Saratoga after winning her first two starts by a combined 21 1/4 lengths. In her third start, immediately before the Test, she was beaten just a neck by Forest Secrets in the Grade 1 Acorn.

Victory Ride broke her right foreleg during a workout about two weeks after the Test and returned after surgery. This year, her stakes performances include two wins, in the ungraded Madison Stakes and the Omnibus Stakes, and a third in Belmont's Grade 2 Shuvee Handicap.

She retires with a lifetime record of 9-5-1-2 and earnings of $390,391.

According to Humphrey, Victory Ride "was as sound as she could be, but she was not the same filly she was before."