10/23/2001 12:00AM

Atlantic Fury tries for 2nd stakes


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Rare is the Thoroughbred who can win two stakes to open her career. But when Atlantic Fury goes to the post Thursday in the $100,000 Green River Stakes at Keeneland, she could be a slight favorite to pull off the notable accomplishment.

Atlantic Fury, a Sam-Son Farm homebred trained by Mark Frostad, won the Cup and Saucer Stakes at her home track of Woodbine in her debut. Her chances of a repeat appear solid, since rain has been forecast for Thursday and her lone previous appearance came over a soft turf course.

Nine other fillies are scheduled to oppose Atlantic Fury in the Green River, which is at 1 1/16 miles on the Haggin turf course. Another Canadian invader, Lush Soldier, also comes in with an unblemished record, giving this race the look of one that could harbor some names to remember

Other logical challengers include Stylelistick, with Pat Day to ride, and Right Spice, whose trainer, Diane Perkins, has enjoyed a highly productive meet.

The rest of the field is Once Around, Victory Road, Yes Honey, Strait From Texas, Precious Prado, and Red Little Lies. Three more fillies were excluded because of Keeneland's 10-horse limit on the turf course.

The Green River, which dates to 1991, has been won by a number of promising turf fillies, foremost among them Perfect Sting, an eventual Eclipse Award champion. She won the 1998 running.

The Green River is the sister race to the $100,000 Hopemont Stakes, which will be run under identical conditions for 2-year-old males here Friday.

Four allowance races also are carded Thursday, which marks the 15th of 17 programs at the fall meet.

Howard headed to Fair Grounds

Trainer Neil Howard said Tuesday that he will take his stable to Fair Grounds this winter instead of Gulfstream Park, where he has been based in recent years.

Howard, whose major client since 1984 has been Will Farish, the prominent Kentucky owner-breeder who is the United States Ambassador to Great Britain, said the main reason for the switch was to ease Farish's concerns that the Gulfstream surface is not as kind as the track at Fair Grounds.

"I've been thinking about this since August and actually was the one to propose the change to Mr. Farish," said Howard. "I don't want to come out and say the track at Gulfstream is no good. It's just that the Fair Grounds has one of the best surfaces to train on anywhere, and we felt it would suit our horses better at this time."

Howard has had a second string of about eight horses at Fair Grounds in recent years, with his first string of about 20 horses at Gulfstream. He will have about 20 stalls at Fair Grounds, with the remainder of his stable being laid up in Camden, S.C.

Chavez to ride at Churchill

New York jockey Jorge Chavez will ride throughout the Churchill Downs fall meet, which begins Sunday, said agent Ronnie Ebanks.

Chavez used to ride exclusively in New York, but in recent years has been riding at Gulfstream in the winter and Keeneland in the spring and fall. The switch to Churchill in the fall will precede Chavez going to Florida early to "ride some at Calder before Gulfstream," which begins Jan. 3, said Ebanks.

* Jennie Rees of The Louisville Courier-Journal has been named the 2001 recipient of the Warner L. Jones Jr. Horseman of the Year Award by the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners Inc., an ownership group founded in 1988. Rees, 44, is a multiple Eclipse winner who has been The Courier Journal's full-time racing writer for 15 years.