10/21/2005 12:00AM

BC Juvenile: Dawn of War a nice consolation


ELMONT, N.Y. - Owner Ken Ramsey fully expected to be a participant in the Breeders' Cup this year. He just didn't figure it would be with a 2-year-old that he ran first time out for a claiming tag of $50,000.

Though disheartened by the career-ending injuries suffered by Roses in May and Kitten's Joy, the runners-up in last year's BC Classic and BC Turf, respectively, Ramsey has moved on and will try to pull an upset in the $1.5 million Juvenile with Dawn of War.

Dawn of War, trained by Dale Romans, earned his way into the Juvenile by winning the Grade 1 Lane's End Breeders' Futurity in gate-to-wire fashion at odds of 36-1.

Facing the likes of First Samurai, Henny Hughes, Private Vow, and Sorcerer's Stone, Dawn of War will most certainly be a big price in the Juvenile. But that doesn't stop Ramsey from believing "he can upset this thing."

Ramsey admitted it was crushing to miss the opportunity to come back to the Breeders' Cup with Roses in May and Kitten's Joy, "but for this one to come up was a surprise," he said.

"What's so gratifying is not only did we punch our ticket for the Juvenile, but with the $310,000 from the Lane's End we punched our ticket for next year's Derby," he said.

Also gratifying is that Dawn of War is a homebred. Ramsey claimed the sire, Catienus, and the dam, Hillary Step, for $50,000 each. Ramsey tried to sell the dam for $25,000 at auction but found no takers. When Dawn of War won the Breeders' Futurity, he joined Kitten's Joy and Nothing to Lose as Grade 1 winners Ramsey bred from modest female stock.

Dawn of War was entered for $50,000 at Churchill Downs in his debut and finished second. Hoping to get Catienus another stakes winner, Ramsey sent Dawn of War first to Prairie Meadows in Iowa, where he finished second in a stakes, and then to Minnesota, where he won the Canterbury Park Juvenile by 2 1/2 lengths. Since that race, he has two more wins and a second-place finish to Laity in the Cradle Stakes at River Downs.

In the Futurity, Dawn of War, under John Jacinto, secured the front and the rail and went gate to wire. He failed to change leads, which is something Romans has been trying to work on in the morning.

Ramsey did say that Javier Castellano would replace Jacinto in the Juvenile. Ramsey said he simply wanted someone with more Breeders' Cup experience and Castellano did win the BC Classic last year aboard Ghostzapper.

Henny Hughes works 'easy' bullet

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin told exercise rider Fidel Santiago to put Henny Hughes through an "easy half-mile" workout Friday. Having only had the horse 10 days, McLaughlin didn't know that easy meant 47.14 seconds, the fastest of 23 at the distance.

"He just worked a little quicker, but that's a good problem to have,'' said McLaughlin, who received the horse in his barn on Oct. 11.

Henny Hughes figures to be on the lead in the Juvenile, but McLaughlin doesn't want to see him go as fast as he did in the Champagne, when Henny Hughes was a half-length behind Too Much Bling through a half-mile in 43.67 seconds.

"We're definitely going to change tactics. We're not going 43-and-3,'' McLaughlin said. "The perfect case scenario is we draw outside to see what's happening inside, but naturally he's there, forwardly placed. It's just that we don't need to be going all out."