INGLEWOOD, CALIF., NOV. 20 -- Thad Ackel Jr., 5, looked up at trainer Thad Ackel Sr. after today's first-race victory at Hollywood Park and said, "Let's go get the money."

Ackel Sr. let out a hearty laugh that dissolved into a sigh. Then, as his son tugged his arm, Ackel posed the question at hand: "Why couldn't this be tomorrow?"

Ackel's share of the winning purse today was $720. But a victory by Great Communicator in Saturday's $2 million Breeders' Cup Turf would enrich Ackel by $90,000.

Great Communicator thrust into the hierarchy of America's turf runners three weeks ago when he nearly won the Washington, D.C. International at Laurel. Under Maryland's Kent Desormeaux, Great Communicator led from the break to the precious final yards, finishing second only because winner Le Glorieux received a flawless, ground-saving ride from Laffit Pincay Jr.

The Breeders' Cup Turf sets up similarly to the International, with two significant exceptions. Great Communicator likely will be pressed for the lead by Theatrical -- a horse of whose class Great Communicator has never beaten -- and Desormeaux will be replaced by Angel Cordero Jr.

Originally, Desormeaux was to gallop Great Communicator early this week, return to Laurel, then fly back here to ride him in the Turf. But Desormeaux and agent Gene Short thought it might jeopardize his opportunity to win the national riding title.

Desormeaux leads Pat Day by about 20 victories; he lost up to 20 mounts when snow forced Laurel to cancel two days last week, and would have sacrificed two days this week to fulfill his West Coast commitment to Ackel. "This {riding title} really means a lot to me," Desormeaux said at Laurel. "I'm willing to ride day and night to get it."

Ackel backed the decision and thereby contracted a rider who has won two Eclipse Awards and more than $114 million in career purses.

"I really wanted Kent to ride for me," Ackel said. "He's a real talent in this business. He's got hands that people simply don't know how valuable they are, and he fits the horse exceptionally well. But I told him I would use him only if he would accommodate me 100 percent towards getting this horse ready.

"I was also emphatic about him coming out here the day before the race to get acclimated. But they're fighting for the title and felt they'd be giving up too much, and I respect that decision."

Cordero who galloped Great Communicator on Monday, said, "The horse should get the lead and go a long way again. Anyone who tries us will have to pay the consequences."

The assessment was a bold one considering Great Communicator was competing in high-grade claiming races at Hollywood Park as recently as April. He had had some minor ailments early this year, so Ackel rested him four months at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans, then shipped him West.

"The fact that he'd been laid off after racing at the Fair Grounds led me to believe that I could run him for $55,000 without a substantial risk of losing him," Ackel said. "He ran second at 56 to 1, then won a $60,000 claimer at 11 to 1, and that was it for the claiming races.

"He's improved steadily ever since, and has peaked at just the best possible moment. He's right on time; I'm the one who's one day ahead of schedule."