11/10/2003 12:00AM

Baffert becomes high bidder for Bornwithit


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Bornwithit is scheduled to be shipped Wednesday to trainer Bob Baffert in California after having been sold by Glenn Montgomery for an undisclosed amount. Montgomery had claimed Bornwithit after he won a $30,000 maiden claiming race by 24 1/2 lengths an earned an 85 Beyer Figure Oct. 11 at Keeneland.

A 2-year-old gelding by Charismatic, Bornwithit was making his second start, both for owner Live Oak Plantation and trainer Nick Zito when he won at Keeneland. Montgomery, whose son, Gary, trains a small stable at the Trackside training center in Louisville, submitted the only claim for Bornwithit that day.

It was not long after the race that the Montgomerys' phones began ringing. Several high-dollar offers were made for Bornwithit, including one from Zito, but Baffert eventually won out. It was not known Monday for which client Baffert had bought Bornwithit.

"I'd love to keep this horse right here," said Gary Montgomery early Monday. "But you sure don't get a lot of chances to turn such a nice profit so quick. Dad will take the money and look to go get a couple more."

Turf races take center stage

The emphasis will be on grass for the coming portion of the stakes program at Churchill. Next up are the $150,000 Mrs. Revere Stakes on Saturday, the $150,000 River City Handicap on Sunday, and the $150,000 Cardinal Handicap Nov. 22.

The probable favorite for the 1 1/16-mile Mrs. Revere, a Grade 2 race restricted to 3-year-old fillies, is Casual Look, the English Oaks winner, who ran third in her U.S. debut in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup last month at Keeneland. A sizable field is expected for the Mrs. Revere.

Likewise, the Grade 3 River City, a 1 1/8-mile race for older male horses, also is expected to get a big field. The top candidates expected are Della Francesca, Freefourinternet, Gretchen's Star, and Hard Buck.

After the turf races are run, the meet will close with four major stakes on dirt: the Falls City Handicap on Nov. 27, the Clark Handicap on Nov. 28, and the Golden Rod and Kentucky Jockey Club on Nov. 29.

Day rallies with Mach Speed

Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day may have never worked harder to win aboard a 2-5 shot than he did Saturday, when Mach Speed was up in the final jump to win a maiden special weight race.

Starting the 1 1/16-mile race from the always difficult post 12, Mach Speed did not break sharply, forcing Day to attempt to save ground going into the first turn. Mach Speed, a 2-year-old A.P. Indy colt, soon found plenty of traffic trouble when he tried to improve his position.

"Pat really had to work to keep him from running over horses down the backside," said Dallas Stewart, who trains Mach Speed for Overbrook Farm.

Finally, after checking and steadying for nearly a quarter-mile, Day wheeled Mach Speed outside of traffic. At the quarter pole, they were widest of all, some eight or nine paths from the rail, and still had about five lengths to make up on the leaders.

Day went to work with a right-handed whip, and as Mach Speed began lugging in, Day switched to a stinging left. One jump before the wire, Mach Speed flew past Chippewa Trail and Lennoxwood to win a three-horse photo.

"After all that, Pat could've thrown up his hands and quit, but he didn't," said Stewart.

Stewart said the Kentucky Jockey Club is the likely next start for Mach Speed.

Lead Story may run in Falls City

Lead Story, winner of the Churchill Downs Distaff at 37-1, will probably run back in the Falls City, said Ian Wilkes, assistant to trainer Carl Nafzger.

"I thought she'd run big, but I honestly didn't think she'd beat those top fillies," said Wilkes, who saddled Lead Story in Nafzger's absence. "The one thing about her is she always tries. Calvin [Borel] gave her a super ride."

Awesome Humor, second in the CD Distaff, also is likely to run back in the 1 1/8-mile Falls City, which figures to have Take Charge Lady as a big favorite.

Zito's stars work well

Nick Zito, who continues to have a terrific fall in Kentucky, had two of his standouts out for work Sunday. Quest, the Jockey Club Gold Cup runner-up, worked five furlongs in 1:03.20 in preparation for the Clark. El Prado Rob, a Keeneland allowance winner who will race next in the Nov. 29 Remsen at Aqueduct, breezed a half-mile in 49.20 seconds.

Smith Jr. focuses on Turfway

Trainer Jere R. Smith Jr., who in previous years raced at Fair Grounds, said last weekend that he will have his entire 15-horse stable based at Turfway this winter.

"We're going to concentrate on Turfway this year," said Smith, who has been a regular in Kentucky in recent spring and fall meets but not during the winter. "We'll be running, buying, claiming - all of it. It's a good place to try and make some money."

Smith grew up on, and has been primarily based on, the Chicago circuit, where his father, Jere R. Smith Sr., long has been a successful trainer. The four-month Turfway meet begins Nov. 30.

* The Churchill stewards warned Craig Perret against a similar let-down but took no further action after Perret appeared to ease up on his winning mount in the seventh race here Saturday. Heavily favored Halory Leigh, with Perret up, won the race by a nose over a late-running Tamarack Bay.

* Sheer Luck, a 2-year-old A.P. Indy filly who posted an impressive score in a 1 1/16-mile allowance race here Saturday, probably will run back in the Golden Rod, said trainer Neil Howard.

* Ontrack attendance here Sunday was bolstered by one of the more popular promotions of the year, the annual chili cook-off. Attendance at Churchill was 10,433.