Friday, March 21, 2003

Favored Lion Tamer draws outside spot

Lane's End Stakes seems to be four-horse race

By Terry Flynn
Enquirer contributor

Pony girl Kim Martin (right) leads Lots of Sizzle, with exercise rider Orlando Mojica aboard, around the track at Turfway Park where the horse will run in the $500,000 Lane's End Stakes on Saturday.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
| ZOOM |
Lion Tamer, picked as a strong 6-5 favorite, drew the No. 9 outside position Thursday for Saturday's 32nd running of Turfway Park's premier 3-year-old test, the $500,000 Lane's End Stakes.

The Michael Tabor-owned colt, trained by Todd Pletcher, arrived at Turfway Park Thursday from the Palm Meadows Training Center in Boynton Beach, Fla., where he has been working out since his 6-length victory in the Grade II Hutcheson Stakes at Gulfstream Park Feb. 15.

Saturday's 1 1/8th-mile test, with nine 3-year-olds going to the post, shapes up as a four-horse race with Champali (7-2), Saintly Look (9-2), and Eugene's Third Son (4-1) given the best chances to beat Lion Tamer.

Champali, named for heavyweight boxing champ and Louisville native Mohammad Ali, didn't venture out of the Bluegrass this winter, but it hardly mattered since the colt won all three winter stakes races at Turfway: the $50,000 Prevue Stakes Jan. 4, the $50,000 WEBN Stakes Feb. 1 and the $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial Stakes March 1.

A victory in Saturday's Lane's End Stakes would make Champali the first colt to sweep all four stakes races for 3-year-olds at Turfway, and trainer Greg Foley thinks his horse is ready for the challenge.

"He's in great shape and he's used to the Turfway surface," Foley, son of well-known Kentucky horseman Dravo Foley, said Thursday. "We're coming out of the No. 2 hole, so we'll want to get out quickly and find a spot."

Asked about the possibility of running on a sloppy track if rain continues in the area today and Saturday, Foley said: "(Champali) handles the mud real well. He's won in the mud."

Although Lion Tamer was installed as the favorite by Turfway handicapper Mike Battaglia, the colt hasn't been tested at a distance of 1 1/8 miles.

"We'll see how he handles the longer distance, but I still think he's the strongest horse in the field," Battaglia said. "And this year's field is one of the best we've had for this race."

Eugene's Third Son, a winner Feb. 22 at 1 1/8th miles in an allowance race at Gulfstream Park, will come out from the No. 8 spot on the outside, next to Lion Tamer. Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day, who rode Lil E. Tee to victory here in 1992 and went on to capture the Kentucky Derby aboard the same colt, will be in the irons.

Saintly Look, to be ridden by Shane Sellers, drew the No. 1 inside post position, next to Champali. The colt's last victory came Jan. 25 in the $100,000 Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds. In his first effort past a mile, Saintly Look finished fifth in the 1 1/16th-mile Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds on Feb. 16.

The No. 3 post position when to Lots of Sizzle (30-1); No. 4 was Ozzie Cat (15-1); No. 5 was Wendlar (30-1); No. 6 was New York Hero (30-1); and No. 7 was Chicken Soup Kid (20-1).

If you go

What: $500,000 Lane's End Stakes for 3-year-old thoroughbreds, a Kentucky Derby prep race.

Where: Turfway Park, Florence.

When: Saturday. First race at noon.

Tickets: General admission $10.

Lane's End post positions

1 Saintly Look Shane Sellers 9-2
2 Champali Jason Lumpkins 7-2
3 Lots of Sizzle Luis Rivera Jr. 30-1
4 Ozzie Cat Martin Pedroza 15-1
5 Wendlar Perry Ouzts 30-1
6 New York Hero Noberto Arroyo Jr. 30-1
7 Chicken Soup Kid Brian Peck 20-1
8 Eugene's Third Son Pat Day 4-1
9 Lion Tamer John Velazquez 6-5

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