Sunday, March 14, 2004 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . March 14, 2004 . . . With final decisions just a few days away, the field for the $500,000 Lane’s End Stakes (G2) at Turfway Park is coming together, as such things always do, around late works, who else is in, and other options.
Still topping the list is Nick Zito’s Birdstone, who won Belmont’s Champagne (G1) at two and his first attempt at three, an allowance race at Gulfstream. He has three impressive wins in four starts, two under Jerry Bailey, who will ride again for the Lane’s End. Birdstone is expected to ship in later in the week.
Local favorite Silver Minister had his final workout today at the Churchill Downs Training Center, breezing 5 furlongs in 1:03.80, fourth of five at the distance. “My biggest question is how he’ll run against Birdstone,” said trainer Greg Foley. “Distance shouldn’t be a problem.” A favorite with Turfway fans, Silver Minister has won all three local preps for the Lane’s End: the sprint-length Turfway Prevue, the one-mile WEBN Stakes, and the 1 1/6-mile John Battaglia Memorial Stakes. Rafael Bejarano has been aboard for all three of those preps and will ride for Foley again.
Little Matth Man, the New York-bred who finished second in the Battaglia, is expected to arrive at Turfway Thursday night. Trainer Martin Ciresa is excited about the additional distance the 1 1/8-mile Lane’s End will offer Little Matth Man. “I’ve known since the second week that I had him that he has wanted to run all day,” Ciresa said Sunday morning. “The extra distance will only help him.” Pablo Fragoso will come in from New York to ride, replacing Shannon Uske, who had the mount in the Battaglia.
Ronny Werner’s New Element will leave Fair Grounds on Monday and van north. He breezed six furlongs last Friday in 1:15 flat, third fastest of six. “The work was excellent,” Werner said. “I was very pleased with it; he finished very strong. And Saturday he was just full of himself.” Mark Guidry has the mount.
Song of the Sword gives trainer Jennifer Pedersen and owner Paraneck Stable their second Lane’s End entry. The same connections shipped in with New York Hero and won the day last year. Song of the Sword, a son of Unbridled’s Song, was unraced as a two-year-old and is undefeated in three starts this year.
D. Wayne Lukas will send Hasslefree from the Churchill Downs Training Center to Turfway on Saturday morning. The colt last ran, and ran last, in the Grade 2 San Rafael on March 6. Michael Puhich will decide whether to send That’s an Outrage after seeing the colt breeze Monday. He went seven furlongs handily in 1:25.60 last Sunday at Santa Anita. Trainer John Toscano Jr. is looking at either the Lane’s End Stakes or the Illinois Derby (G2) for Sinister G and will make a decision on Tuesday. Stolen Time, sixth in the Louisiana Derby (G2), is trainer Bill Mott’s probable Lane’s End entry.
Several trainers are deciding between the Lane’s End and the $100,000 Rushaway, run the same day. Bob Baffert is looking at one or the other for Bornwithit, a son of Charismatic, who went a mile handily in 1:40 at Santa Anita on Friday. Trainer Robert Reid has the decision to make for Rockhewn, as does Fletcher Mauk for Tap Dancing Mauk. Owner Bill Mauk is “60-40” in favor of the Lane’s End for the latter. “The horse is training like a bear,” said Mauk, “but we’re going to wait and see what else is shipping in before making a decision.” Trainer Ed Frederick is on the fence with Tricky Taboo but leaning toward the Lane’s End. “Tony [D’Amico] is going to come down to work him on Tuesday at the Thoroughbred Center,” Frederick said Sunday morning from Texas. “Depending on how that work goes, we will bring him to the race.” D’Amico will have the mount.
Some other probables for the Rushaway are Zito’s El Prado Rob and Pies Prospect; Lukas’ Boston Brahmin, expected to ship in from Louisville on race day; Niall O’Callaghan’s Gamblin; Pedersen’s Risky Trick; and the always-in-the-money Iron Rogue, who awaits a vet check for trainer David Fortner.
Lane’s End Stakes Day at Turfway Park includes four additional stakes races on the undercard and 12 races altogether. First post is 12:30 p.m. EST. ESPN2 will provide coverage of the Lane’s End Stakes and the Rushaway beginning at 3:30 p.m.