10/07/2004 11:00PM

Bedanken follows Bien Nicole's lead

Runway Model and jockey Rafael Bejarano were up in the final jump to win a three-horse photo in the Alcibiades Stakes on Friday at Keeneland.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Trainer Donnie Von Hemel said Bedanken's participation in Sunday's WinStar Galaxy Stakes came down to a number of factors: timing, a large purse, owner Pin Oak Stable's ties to Keeneland, and, naturally, fond memories.

It was just a year ago that Von Hemel won the 2003 Galaxy with Bien Nicole, who dominated the running with a 7 1/4-length triumph. She later raced in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf, setting the pace before fading to ninth.

Von Hemel believes Bedanken is of similar quality, though a start in the Breeders' Cup appears unlikely. Two prior races at Lone Star Park - where the Breeders' Cup will be run for the first time this year - resulted in disappointing efforts, leaving Von Hemel to conclude that she is not at her best on that turf course.

Her record illustrates as much. She has a third and an eighth in two starts at Lone Star, and is 7-0-1 in nine starts on all other turf courses.

Working in her favor in the Galaxy is that she is already a graded winner over the Keeneland course and also proven at the Galaxy's 1 3/16 miles, having won the Grade 3 Modesty at Arlington this summer at that distance.

Bedanken has followed Bien Nicole's schedule this year. Both raced in the Modesty and later the Beverly D. before being freshened for the Galaxy. Bien Nicole ran second in both of those races; Bedanken won the Modesty and finished a close fifth in the Beverly D.

The similarities end there.

"Bien Nicole was pretty headstrong and liked to be out in front," Von Hemel said. "This mare has quite a bit of versatility. She can be up with the pace when it's slow or run from off of it when it's fast."

That versatility may be needed Sunday in the Galaxy, which is seemingly void of pace.

Stall's win makes up for tough beat

Al Stall Jr. has had some 3,400 starters in a training career that dates to 1991, but sometimes a race you'd like to forget never seems to go away, even years after the fact. When Stall won the first race of the Keeneland fall meet, he finally was able to put one of the more memorable losses of his career behind him.

"It was one of the first races of the meet here years ago, if not the first race," Stall said after sending out Tricky Devil to a whopping 18 3/4-length victory in the meet opener on Friday. "King Roller was the horse. Jeff Jacobs beat us a head, maybe a neck. You just don't forget short beats like that."

Stall, 43, said he has "won the first race of the meet other places, but not here. To win at Keeneland, it feels great."

Tricky Devil, a gray 3-year-old owned by B. Wayne Hughes, made a mockery of his race, a $40,000 sprint for maiden claimers, when leading every step. The colt was making his first start in 10 1/2 months.

This summer marked the first in 10 years that Stall had horses stabled at Louisiana Downs, rather than Arlington Park or Saratoga. Stall, born and raised in New Orleans, still has 40 horses at Louisiana Downs and 20 at Churchill Downs in his adopted hometown of Louisville.

Silver Ticket ships from Canada

Silver Ticket was unable to handle the very best 3-year-olds in Canada when he was beaten in the Queen's Plate and Breeders' Stakes this summer, but when the Sam-Son Farm colt runs here Sunday in the $100,000 Storm Cat Stakes, he will rank among the deserving favorites.

Eight 3-year-olds are entered in the Storm Cat, a one-mile turf race in which Silver Ticket, with Robby Albarado to ride, drew the outside post. Other contenders in the fourth of nine races include Fort Prado, Cool Conductor, and Good Reward.

QEII could have Cup implications

Even after the major stakes of opening weekend are over, at least one race with potential impact on the Breeders' Cup still remains on the fall stakes schedule: the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, the fourth and last Grade 1 of the meet.

The QEII, a $500,000 turf race to be run at 1 1/8 miles next Saturday, typically yields a starter or two for the BC Filly and Mare Turf, even though the Breeders' Cup will be only two weeks away. The prospective cast of 3-year-old fillies for this 21st running is another good one - Keeneland officials are holding out hope that they will get French standout Grey Lilas to be part of a field of 10 to 12.

Already confirmed from the invitation list are Barancella, Lucifer's Stone, Mambo Slew, Phantom Wind, Spotlight, and Ticker Tape.

Grey Lilas, if she comes, would arrive Tuesday along with Phantom Wind, a Juddmonte Farms filly.

Rich allowances on Wednesday card

After taking the usual two dark days, Keeneland resumes action Wednesday with what has become a rarity: a card without a stakes.

Nonetheless, four rich allowance races are in the condition book for Wednesday. Stakes action resumes Thursday with the $100,000 Perryville Stakes, in which Eurosilver will make his first start in seven months.

Keeneland employs a stakes-a-day policy in the spring, but skips Wednesdays in the fall.

* Track Diva Day, an event designed for women with an interest in racing, will be held here Oct. 17. Tickets are $30. For more information, call (859) 288-4299, option 4.

- additional reporting by Marty McGee