12/14/2001 12:00AM

Xtra Heat to be honored at Laurel

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Most horses have to wait for their retirement to be recognized with a day in their honor. Not Xtra Heat, who will be feted at her Laurel Park homebase on Saturday.

Xtra Heat, second in the Breeders' Cup Sprint and a winner of 17 races from 22 starts, will be paraded following the fifth race and then will pose for photographs in the winner's circle.

Laurel Park management will present Xtra Heat with a Christmas stocking loaded with treats. Her owners, John Salzman, (who also is her trainer), Kenneth Taylor and Harry Deitchman, will be given trophies. The filly's regular rider, Rick Wilson, currently sidelined by injury, is also expected to take part in the ceremony.

Fans will receive a free color Xtra Heat button and can take part in a drawing for a signed photograph of the filly, as well as Xtra Heat T-shirts and caps.

Xtra Heat has won $1,274,150 after being bought for $5,000 at auction last year as a 2-year-old.

John Salzman said Friday that he is pleased about the day in his filly's honor.

"It's something that's usually done for horses who are retired, so this is nice because she's still racing," Salzman said.

Salzman planned on working Xtra Heat this the weekend for her next start at Aqueduct in the Interborough Handicap on Jan. 1. Xtra Heat missed the Garland of Roses at Aqueduct on Dec. 8 because of a cough, which was associated with allergies.