02/10/2004 12:00AM

Bettors yet to believe Shiloh Bound is for real

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NEW ORLEANS - The more Sunday's Risen Star Stakes comes into focus, the better a horse like Shiloh Bound starts to look.

Barring a last-minute surprise, the Grade 3, $150,000 Risen Star will lack stars. Tapit could have been the race's main attraction, but a sore shin derailed his trip to New Orleans, and at this point only one horse, a California-based maiden named Oneverycoolcat, is expected to ship from either coast.

The invaders are from Arkansas. Mr. Jester, winner of the $1 million Delta Jackpot and the likely favorite, was scheduled to travel here by van on Wednesday. Proper Prado, third in the Kentucky Jockey Club to cap his 2-year-old season, also could come from Oaklawn. His status was to be determined Wednesday, when trainer Bob Holthus planed to enter Proper Prado in a second-level allowance race at Oaklawn. If the race failed to fill, Proper Prado will head to Fair Grounds.

Fire Slam, the top 3-year-old at Fair Grounds, is waiting for the Louisiana Derby, and the highly regarded Polish Rifle must prove his clunky effort in the Lecomte Stakes was an aberration. All of which could leave the Risen Star open to a sharp horse like Shiloh Bound, who put in an exceptional work Monday, going six furlongs in 1:12.80.

"I was real pleased. He worked great," said Shiloh Bound's trainer, Walter Bindner.

Shiloh Bound is unbeaten in three starts. In the judgment of most bettors, he should have won none of them. Shiloh Bound was 43-1 in a $50,000 maiden claimer Nov. 2 at Churchill Downs, 22-1 when he won an entry-level allowance sprint here Dec. 21, and 15-1 in the Black Gold Handicap, a two-turn turf race Jan. 10. It looks on paper like Shiloh Bound has steadily improved, and that's exactly what Bindner has been seeing.

Bindner liked this horse from the start. At the Keeneland November sale of 2001, Bindner bid $10,000 on Shiloh Bound, then a weanling, and when Shiloh Bound failed to meet a $13,000 reserve, Bindner bought him privately. Shiloh Bound has always trained aggressively. He gallops in draw reins and a figure-eight bit, and Bindner employs a rider named Rhett Fincher to gallop Shiloh Bound, because the horse proved too difficult to control for any of his regular gallop help.

If Shiloh Bound is a strong galloper, he's even tougher in a race. He won his debut by a length, the allowance race by a nose, and the Black Gold by a half-length, digging in each time.

"He's a hard-trying horse. He refuses to get beat, is what it looks like to me," said Bindner, who trains Shiloh Bound for a five-man partnership called Twin Lanterns Racing Stable

Gradepoint, a promising Neil Howard-trained maiden winner, and Assault Commander also are probable for the Risen Star.

Badge of Silver sizzles in workout

Badge of Silver lit up the Fair Grounds work tab Monday, going five furlongs in 59.60 seconds, the fastest of 54 works at the distance. If only his travel plans were going as smoothly.

Badge of Silver is slated to start in the General George Handicap on Monday at Laurel, and he was to have flown directly from New Orleans to Maryland on Friday. But by Tuesday morning, the chances of getting a direct flight had become uncertain, and trainer Ronny Werner was scrutinizing different travel scenarios.

Still, Werner said Badge of Silver remained on target for the General George, in which he's likely to be heavily favored. The Monday work was "a little faster than I was hoping for, but he did it well within himself, and he wasn't blowing at all afterward," Werner said.

Toby's Success dies at Delta

Trainer Troy Young confirmed Tuesday that the gelding Toby's Success died Saturday night shortly after finishing third in the Louisiana Premier Night Sprint at Delta Downs. Since Toby's Success wasn't insured, no autopsy was performed, but Young's best guess is that Toby's Success had a heart attack.

Toby's Success had quickly opened a clear lead in the race and had a comfortable advantage on the far turn, but he stopped abruptly in the stretch, finishing third. Jockey Gerard Melancon "heard him start to make a noise coming off the turn. It was kind of a loud grunt," Young said.

Toby's Success, owned by Murray Valene, made just four starts in his career. On Jan. 26, he set a Fair Grounds track record of 1:03.20 for 5 1/2 furlongs.

"Horses as fast as him don't come around but once or twice in a lifetime," Young said.

* Neither Class Above nor Hollywood Story will ship here for Saturday's Grade 2 Silverbulletday Stakes, which hurts the race's quality, but could increase its field size. As of Monday, the horses pointing for the race were America America, Mme. Espionage, Josie G., Love Power, Run Cat Run, Sister Swank, and perhaps He Loves Me and Shadow Cast.

* Jockey Corey Lanerie won the 2,000th race of his career Saturday at Fair Grounds. Lanerie's milestone came with Slow Walkin' John in the sixth race. Lanerie, 29, has been riding for 13 years.