10/06/2004 11:00PM

'Bellamy' must show he's real deal


LEXINGTON, Ky. - The West has Roman Ruler and Declan's Moon. The East has Afleet Alex and Proud Accolade. And from the vast region between the two coasts, another leading contender or two in North America's 2-year-old division almost surely will emerge Saturday at Keeneland when the Grade 1 is run for the 91st time.

Probably the most plausible candidate to capture the $500,000 Breeders' Futurity is Bellamy Road, whose clear-cut victory in a solid field in the Sept. 6 Cradle Stakes at River Downs kept him unbeaten in two starts and is likely to make him the favorite in a full field of 12.

Bellamy Road, owned by the Kinsman Farm of New York Yankees boss George Steinbrenner, arrived here Wednesday from Tapeta Farm, trainer Michael Dickinson's private training center in North East, Md.

"He would go on to the Breeders' Cup if he makes a good account of himself," Kinsman manager Edward Sexton said from Ocala, Fla. "We believe he'll take all the beating, but talk is cheap. We would love to see the horse show everyone what he can do."

Sexton said he and Steinbrenner's son, Hank, will attend the race along with several others representing George Steinbrenner, who otherwise will be busy with the Yankees battling the Minnesota Twins for a spot in the American League Championship Series.

Bellamy Road is by Concerto, whom Steinbrenner campaigned with success in the late 1990's. On Sexton's advice, Steinbrenner bought Bellamy Road for $87,000 at Ocala in April.

The two highly regarded colts who chased Bellamy Road at River Downs, Diamond Isle and Scipion, also will run in the Breeders' Futurity, a 1 1/16-mile race that in recent years has produced such standouts as Forty Niner (1987), Boston Harbor (1996), Favorite Trick (1997), and Sky Mesa (2002).

"It should be a great race," said Ken McPeek, trainer of Diamond Isle. McPeek, who won this race in 1994 with Tejano Run, said Diamond Isle is progressing just as he had hoped.

"His Cradle was good," said McPeek. "We're looking for Saturday to be better, and the Breeders' Cup to be his best yet. He's been doing fantastic."

Pat Day, a four-time winner of this race, has the mount for the first time on Diamond Isle, a Gilded Time colt owned by Buckram Oak Farm.

Among the fresh faces trying to take the next step up are Straight Line, a colt who closed stoutly to finish a narrowly beaten second last month in the Arlington-Washington Futurity; Patriot Act, a maiden who ran so well in a recent Belmont maiden race that his owner, Lane's End master Will Farish, was encouraged to try stakes company here; Evil Minister, winner of the Grade 3 Sapling at Monmouth Park two starts back; and Magna Graduate, who drew favorably in post 2 after running well to finish second three weeks ago in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile at Turfway Park.

The rest of the field is Father Weist, Pop the Question, Consolidator, Three Hour Nap, and Copy My Notes.

Straight Line, trained by 80-year-old Harvey Vanier, might be the upset special. Straight Line showed a welcome dimension when he rallied in his last race at Arlington after having showed speed in his first three starts.

The field

Lane's End Breeders' Futurity
Purse: $500,000; 1 1/16 miles; Grade 1

1Father WeistW. Martinez20-1
2Magna GraduateJ. Santos30-1
3Bellamy RoadR. Dominguez4-1
4Diamond IsleP. Day6-1
5Pop the QuestionC. Perret50-1
6Evil MinisterG. Stevens15-1
7ConsolidatorR. Bejarano7-2
8Straight LineB. Blanc15-1
9Three Hour NapM. Guidry12-1
10Patriot ActR. Albarado6-1
11ScipionE. Prado5-2
12Copy My NotesJ. McKee50-1

* Blinkers On: Copy My Notes; Blinkers Off: Consolidator
* All starters carry 121 pounds
* Odds by Kristin Sadler
* Television: Saturday, 4-5 p.m. (Eastern), ESPN2