Wednesday, March 18, 2009 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . March 18, 2009 . . . Bittel Road at 5-2 and West Side Bernie at 3-1 are the top two morning line choices for the Grade II Lane's End Stakes at Turfway Park Saturday. Oddsmaker Mike Battaglia set the line for the 12-horse field at the annual Call to the Post Luncheon and Post Position Draw on Wednesday.
The field in post position order with trainers, jockeys, and morning line odds:
1/Hold Me Back/William Mott/Kent Desormeaux/6-1
2/Bittel Road/Todd Pletcher/Garrett Gomez/5-2
3/A. P. Cardinal/Kiaran McLaughlin/Cornelio Velasquez/10-1
4/West Side Bernie/Kelly Breen/Edgar Prado/3-1
5/Jack Spratt/Michael Maker/Julien Leparoux/8-1
6/Parade Clown/Katherine Ball/Eibar Coa/10-1
7/Bruce N Autumn/Dale Romans/Victor Lebron/20-1
8/Orthodox/John Glenney/Jesus Castanon/10-1
9/Loch Dubh/Jeff Talley/Calvin Borel/20-1
10/Flying Private/D. Wayne Lukas/Israel Ocampo/12-1
11/Dynamite Bob/Jose Lopez/Manfredi Guzman/50-1
12/Proceed Bee/Terry Gestes/Rodney Prescott/12-1
Trainer Kelly Breen had 11 chances to be satisfied with the draw for West Side Bernie and the colt's four post made the list. "Anything is good as long as it's not the 12," said Breen. "The main concern about post position was that we did have a bad [outside] post for the Breeders' Cup [when West Side Bernie finished sixth]. Then we had the seven post at Delta Downs, and we were fine with that, [finishing second]. Then we go back to Florida for the Holy Bull and draw the outside again." said Breen. "But I think if we had drawn the 12, [owners] George and Lori [Hall] would have just said, 'Do you think he can still win from out there?' and I would have said yes, I think he could. But it's just good not to have the 12 post. Anything else is gravy."
Breen said West Side Bernie will school in the gate tomorrow at Turfway, where he has been stabled since last Saturday morning.
Trainer Terry Gestes considered both the Rushaway Stakes and the Lane's End for John Battaglia Memorial winner Proceed Bee and finally came down on the side of the graded race. "We were flip-flopping between the two," said Gestes, "but the colt's training really good right now and this looked like a good spot to give him a shot with better horses."
As for drawing the outside post, Gestes said, "The track used to seem to favor inside posts but this year it looks favorable for the outside, so I don't think the outside post will hurt us. It's a long way to the first turn, so as long as we don't get hung wide, he should be OK. He should be able to get away OK, but he's versatile and we could take back if we have to or if he gets a good break he could get right out and get good position."
K. K. Ball was pleased that Parade Clown, who will break from post six, also did not draw outside. The winner of the WEBN Stakes was second in the Battaglia Memorial after breaking from the outside post and racing aggressively five wide around the first turn. "I'm glad it's not the 12 hole," she said. "Hopefully he won't be rank like he was early on in the Battaglia. We’re hoping he makes one big run. He's doing well. We couldn't be happier with how he’s doing."
The Lane's End Stakes is the 10th of 12 races on Saturday's card. Gates open at 10:00 a.m. First post is at 1:10 p.m.
The Rushaway Stakes and the Lane's End Stakes will be nationally televised on ESPN2 and broadcast by Horse Racing Radio Network. The Grade III Bourbonette Oaks is scheduled to run on TVG.