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Lane's End Stakes field begins to jell

Saturday, March 19, 2005 12:00 AM
  • Spiral Stakes
Proud Accolade opts for Rushaway
FLORENCE, KY . . . March 19, 2005 . . . The chess game that is Kentucky Derby prep season moves to Turfway Park next Saturday, as some of the nation’s leading trainers bring their strategies to town for the Grade 2 Lane’s End Stakes. Although entries will not be drawn until Thursday, March 24, a field of nine has been jelling over the past week for the 1 1/8-mile race.

Topping the list are Spanish Chestnut, trained by Patrick Biancone; Andromeda’s Hero, trained by Nick Zito; Texcess, trained by Paul Aguirre; and Magna Graduate, trained by Patrick Byrne. Todd Pletcher has indicated he will send either Flower Alley or Monarch Lane, and Ken McPeek is considering either Diamond Isle or Wild Desert. Jennifer Pedersen, who won the race in 2003 with New York Hero, intends to start Mr Sword. Mayan King is being pointed to the Lane’s End Stakes by trainer Gary Contessa. D. Wayne Lukas, who won in 1983 with Marfa and in 1995 with the star filly Serena’s Song, will try for his third win with Silent Bid.

Spanish Chestnut’s three-year-old campaign so far includes a win in the San Rafael Stakes and a third in the Santa Catalina Stakes, both Grade 2 contests at Santa Anita. Gary Stevens, who played George Woolf in the movie Seabiscuit, is expected to ride.

Andromeda’s Hero won the Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs in late February under the guidance of jockey Rafael Bejarano, who rewrote the Turfway Park record book in 2004 and was the country’s leading rider by wins for the year. Andromeda’s Hero is among the first crop sired by 2000 Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus.

Texcess finished his two-year-old season with three straight wins, the last the $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot. He was third in the San Rafael in January and second in the San Mateo Mile at Bay Meadows last month.

Magna Graduate was second to top Derby prospect Greater Good in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile (G3) last fall at Turfway and returned to the track in early March to win the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes. Elisabeth Alexander purchased Magna Graduate from Northern Kentucky attorney Burr Travis after the colt’s Kentucky Cup start.

Mayan King, owned by actor David Cassidy, brings history with him to the Lane’s End Stakes. The colt is a son of Stephen Got Even, who won the race in 1999 and now stands at Lane’s End Farm, the sponsor of the race since 2002. Lane’s End Farm is owned by Will Farish, until recently the United States ambassador to England’s Court of Saint James’s.

Proud Accolade aims for Rushaway
Eight horses are listed as probable for the Rushaway Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile race annually run on the Lane’s End Stakes undercard. Heading the list of three year olds is Proud Accolade, who was forced to miss the March 12 Louisiana Derby due to a minor illness. That setback and the Rushaway’s shorter distance led trainer Todd Pletcher to bypass the Lane’s End with Proud Accolade, who won the Grade 2 Hutcheson Stakes on February 5. Hall of Famer and multiple Eclipse Award winner Jerry Bailey has accepted the mount on Proud Accolade.

Also considered for the Rushaway are Catch Me, second to Snack in the WEBN Stakes at Turfway on February 5; Stormy Afternoon; Daddy Joe; Maddy’s Lion, Pinpoint, Diamond Isle or Melissa’s Comet for trainer McPeek; and Signals in the Wind.

Both the Rushaway and the Lane’s End will be televised live on ESPN from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Also on the Lane’s End Stakes undercard are the $150,000 Bourbonette Breeders’ Cup, a mile race for three-year-old fillies; the $50,000 Hansel Stakes, a six-furlong sprint for three-year-olds; and the $50,000 Queen Stakes, a six-furlong race for fillies and mares four years old and up.

Tickets for the Lane’s End Stakes are available by calling (859) 371-0200 or (800) 733-0200.

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