07/09/2004 12:00AM

Big plans for Colonial Colony


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Colonial Colony, the Churchill Downs-based 6-year-old who was part of a close four-horse finish last weekend in the Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park, will run next in the July 31 Washington Park Handicap or the Aug. 7 Whitney Handicap, trainer Walt Bindner Jr. said Friday.

"We're going to lay out the different possibilities in the next couple of days," said Bindner.

Colonial Colony, owned by the Lakeside Farms of southern Indiana resident Chris Nolan, finished a late-closing fourth, beaten only a length, in the July 3 Suburban, a race that was the horse's first start since he stunned the racing world with a 62-1 upset in the June 12 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill.

"I'd certainly like to think his race in the Suburban validated the Foster," said Bindner. "I thought he ran a tremendous race in New York. Just past the wire, he went past the other horses pretty quick, so I don't think my horse knows he got beat."

Bindner said Colonial Colony returned to Churchill in "perfect" shape. Calling the Oct. 2 Hawthorne Gold Cup an eventual goal, Bindner said, "How we get there, that's what Chris and I are going to sit down and talk about."

Bejarano off to the races

To the surprise of no one, jockey Rafael Bejarano got off to a solid start at the Ellis Park meet in Henderson, Ky., by riding three winners on each of the first two programs. During the first two days, Bejarano rode 16 horses, eight of whom were favored - but what's scary is how dominant his presence might eventually become as the meet unfolds.

"To be honest, I wasn't able to work the first week all that well because of all we had going on at the end of Churchill," said Steve Elzey, Bejarano's agent. "Once we get settled in at Ellis, I think we could really start to do some good."

Diamond Isle impresses

Trainer Ken McPeek, who is soon headed to Saratoga, unveiled a promising 2-year-old on closing day at Churchill Downs when Diamond Isle won a six-furlong maiden special weight race by 4 1/2 lengths.

Diamond Isle, by Gilded Time, is owned by Buckram Oak Farm. "We think a whole lot of this colt," said a farm spokesman, Hanzly Albina, who was on hand for the win.

Diamond Isle finished in 1:10.12 over a fast track. The victory came a little more than three hours before rains made the track sloppy for the Bashford Manor Stakes, which Lunarpal won in 1:11.54.

State authority seeking input

Jesse Skees, the interim executive director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority, has issued a press release soliciting the input of all interested parties in regard to the rewriting of Kentucky racing regulations.

At the direction of Gov. Ernie Fletcher, the racing authority is seeking to revise all relevant regulations and is asking that anyone who wishes to participate in this public process contact the authority at (859) 246-2040. Petitioners will be asked to submit in writing the specific regulations in need of review and other pertinent information. An opportunity for oral presentations has been scheduled for Aug. 16 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.

Meanwhile, the racing authority is expected to name a permanent replacement for Skees at its next regularly scheduled meeting on July 19 at the Horse Park. Also at that time, Mickey Sample, who has been serving as chief steward since the KHRA replaced the former Kentucky Racing Commission in January, is expected to be named permanently to that post.

* The racing radio show that airs every Saturday morning in Lexington has been expanded to two hours. "The Lexus Equine Forum," hosted by Pete Kules and Mike Penna, now airs from 8 to 10 a.m. Eastern on WXLG (1300 AM).