12/18/2009 12:00AM

Bindner puts faith in rider


The implicit tradeoff in naming a relatively inexperienced apprentice to ride your horse is being able to claim a weight allowance. No such allowances are made in stakes races, so it seems worth noting that veteran trainer Walt Bindner Jr. has named Freddie Lenclud to ride Offlee Funny in the $50,000 Gowell Stakes on Saturday at Turfway Park.

Lenclud leads the holiday-meet standings at Turfway, a fact that Bindner said is worth the five-pound allowance a horse normally receives.

"You'd prefer to get the allowance, but all I know is the kid is winning races up there," Bindner said from what has become his year-round base, the High Point training center near LaGrange, Ky.

Offlee Funny is part of an overflow of 2-year-old fillies entered in the six-furlong Gowell, which anchors an 11-race Saturday card at the Florence, Ky., track. After winning her career debut at Presque Isle Downs in September, the filly was a creditable third on Nov. 22 in a rich first-level allowance at Woodbine.

"I figured she might like synthetics, so we started her out at Presque Isle," said Bindner, who is missing the Fair Grounds meet for the first time in 25 years. "Her older brother was cut out to be a real nice horse," he added, referring to a since-deceased 5-year-old named Meet at Jacks, "and maybe she'll turn out to be a nice one, too."

The Gowell appears to be extremely well matched, with Offlee Funny being one of at least a half-dozen viable players. Henry's Posse, a Lexington-based filly who was second in the same Woodbine allowance in which Offlee Funny was third, is one of the more obvious contenders. Trained by Mark Hubley, she was assigned post 12 with Orlando Mojica named to ride.

Other possibilities include Rapid Racer, Oceans of Honey, Involved, For Royalty, and Mission Vow. Fourteen fillies were entered, although only as many as 12 can start.

The Gowell is the 10th race on a program that starts at 1:10 p.m. Eastern. The feature is scheduled for 5:19 p.m.

The Gowell dates to 1985, when Put Her on Ice prevailed under jockey Scott Miller. The 2008 running was won by Step Out Smartly, marking one of the final stakes wins for Bill Troilo, who retired from the saddle shortly thereafter.