FLORENCE, KY . . . March 19, 2007 . . . Full fields are likely for the 36th running of the Grade II Lane's End Stakes at Turfway Park this Saturday and for the four stakes on the undercard as well.
Headlined by the $500,000 Lane's End at 1 1/8 miles, the day also features the $100,000 Rushaway Stakes for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles; the Grade III $150,000 Bourbonette Breeders' Cup for 3-year-old fillies going a mile; and the $50,000 Hansel for 3-year-olds and the $50,000 Queen for older fillies and mares, both at 6 furlongs.
The Lane's End
Fox Hill Farm's Hard Spun, among the likely favorites for the Lane's End, worked five furlongs at Turfway Park Monday in 1:00.60 under regular rider Mario Pino, who flew in Monday with trainer Larry Jones for the work. It was the second recent bullet work for the Danzig colt, who posted :47.60 for four furlongs last Wednesday, the best of 23 at the distance.
Hard Spun, who won his first four starts by a combined 28 lengths, will look to regain his position among top Derby contenders after a fourth-place finish in the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn February 19.
"He actually had a better Ragozin number [a measure of performance] than the winner in the Southwest," said Cindy Jones, Larry Jones's wife and assistant. "He was really laboring over the Oaklawn track. The work today was beautiful. He's really doing great here. He's the old Hard Spun."
Sports Town, recently third in the Whirlaway Stakes at Aqueduct, got acquainted with the Turfway track Monday morning after arriving from New York on Sunday. He will work Tuesday morning at 8:30.
"He got sick after the Whirlaway, so we missed the Gotham Stakes and had to go to Plan B. Other than a few missed days of training, he hasn't missed a beat," said assistant trainer Tonya Terranova, whose husband, John, trains Sports Town for Sovereign Stable. "We've never run a horse on Polytrack but we've heard nothing but good about it. We'll see how he works tomorrow, and hopefully he likes it. He doesn't seem to care about the track he's on. He's been working tremendously at Belmont all winter.
Trainer Eric Reed sent Catman Running out for a gallop Monday at Keeneland following his final work last Friday, when the Tactical Cat colt breezed half a mile in :48 flat, eighth-fastest of 23 at the distance.
"It was a good work, just maintenance," said Reed. "He got a little more aggressive than I would like, so I guess he's ready."
Catman Running comes into the Lane's End off three straight wins, two of them at Turfway including the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes. "What impressed me about the Battaglia was his endurance," said Reed. "He galloped out and was full of run. He really likes Polytrack. He strides out better and it moved him up."
Woodford Racing's Approval Rating comes into the Lane's End after finishing fourth in the Battaglia. "He was wide the whole way" in that race, said trainer Mark Casse. "He must have run an extra 30 yards. I was quite happy with his race, though. It was his first in four months. His last work [at Turfway with stablemate Skip Code], I clocked him 5/8ths in 1:03 flat, the last quarter in :25."
Silverton Hill's Sedgefield most recently finished second in the Hallandale Beach Stakes on the turf at Gulfstream behind Twilight Meteor, a likely Lane's End starter from the barn of Todd Pletcher.
"He ran a real good race," said trainer Darrin Miller of Sedgefield's effort in the Hallandale Beach. "He chased the pace basically the whole race. He broke from the 11 hole, so we had to push the button right away with him, so he was pretty aggressive throughout the race."
For You Reppo worked a bullet half-mile in :47.60 at Gulfstream on Sunday for trainer Helen Pitts. Owned by Trident Stable LLC, For You Reppo most recently finished second to the highly regarded Chelokee in a Gulfstream allowance. He will arrive at Turfway on Thursday.
"He had a real nice work yesterday and is doing super today," said Pitts. "Chelokee's a real nice horse, but I love my horse. I'm real excited about Saturday."
Also on the probable list for the Lane's End are Starbase, from the barn of D. Wayne Lukas, and Bullara, also trained by Pletcher. Paraneck Stable's Helios may also join the field. A handful of others are on the fence between the Lane's End and the Rushaway.
Likely for the Rushaway is Reata's Rocket, trained by Joe Orseno for Reata Thoroughbred Farm. The colt last posted fourth-place finishes in the Hutcheson and Swale stakes, grade II races at Gulfstream.
"We're leaning toward the Rushaway," said Orseno. "We have a flight lined up on Wednesday. In the Swale, [jockey] Rene Douglas said he was slipping in behind, so we changed shoes for the Hutcheson and he was working great, but then he had a terrible trip.
"This will be our horse's first race around two turns, so we don't want to ask too much of him. That's why we're pointing towards the Rushaway instead of the Lane's End."
Skip Code also is headed for the Rushaway, said trainer Mark Casse, who worked the Skip Away colt in company with Approval Rating for the 5/8ths work at Turfway. "He worked head and head with Approval Rating, which for him is great. When we worked them in Ocala together, he couldn't keep up with Approval Rating, so the fact that he was right with him really says something.
"He needs the Polytrack. We won twice with him on it in Toronto and brought him to Churchill for the Breeders' Cup and he hated that track. He has a high action like his dad."
Darrin Miller intends Dominican for the Rushaway, noting, "He has kept good company. He's run against some pretty good horses." Dominican is one-for-five lifetime, and in his last start, the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club, finished a respectable third behind Tiz Wonderful and Any Given Saturday.
Trust Your Luck, also a Helen Pitts trainee, will enter the Rushaway. He won a maiden race at Turfway February 17 and was most recently third by a neck in an allowance race at the track after a wide trip.
"He's doing good," said Pitts. "He had a nice work this morning [4f in :51:20 at Churchill's Trackside training center]. I know he's inexperienced, but I like him in the Rushaway. He's still a big baby."
Others considered for the Rushaway are Passport (trainer Frank Brothers); Dubious Miss (Paul McGee); Meritocracy (Pletcher); Pink Viper (Alan Klanfer); Cityboy Or Cowboy (W. J. Bourke); Eighteenthofmarch (John Good); Head to Toe (William Napier); Storm Breeze (Lukas); and Lure My Daisy (Carl Potts).