06/20/2003 12:00AM

William Adams, trainer, dead

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - William E. "Smiley" Adams, whose training career reached its peak in the 1970's with Master Derby and Run Dusty Run, died Thursday at Veteran's Affairs Hospital in Lexington after a long illness. He was 67.

Adams, born in Versailles, Ky., got his first job on the racetrack at age 14. He trained 29 stakes winners, led by Master Derby, who won the 100th Preakness in 1975 at 23-1 and remains the longest shot to win the race.

Adams also attracted considerable publicity in 1977 as the trainer of Run Dusty Run, who was the main nemesis to Seattle Slew throughout Slew's Triple Crown that year. Run Dusty Run ran second in the Kentucky Derby, third in the Preakness, and second in the Belmont Stakes.

Other major winners trained by Adams were Paris Dust, Spruce Needles, Golden Derby, Bob's Dusty, and Lot o' Gold.

Adams won or tied for four training titles at Keeneland from 1975-78. He saddled the winner of Turfway Park's signature race - then known primarily as the Spiral Stakes - every year from 1977 to 1980, including two years when he won both divisions of the race.

Adams is survived by his wife, Doris; three sons; one stepson; two stepdaughters; and two brothers. Funeral arrangements are being handled by Betts and West Funeral Home in Nicholasville, Ky.