10/02/2006 11:00PM

Birdbirdistheword headed to Breeders' Futurity

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Birdbirdistheword has stepped up his game with more distance, as evidenced by his win last month in the $100,000 Juvenile at Louisiana Downs. Now, he will step up in class.

Trainer Ken McPeek said on Tuesday that Birdbirdistheword will run in Saturday's Grade 1, $500,000 Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland.

Birdbirdistheword ran a career race in the Juvenile, when he stalked the pace en route to a half-length win over stakes winner Going Ballistic. Birdbirdistheword earned a career-best Beyer Figure of 82 in the 1 1/16-mile turf race.

"He's a nice horse," said McPeek. "We kind of expected him to run that way. He's acted like a really good horse for a while now, and I think he just needed the distance of ground, which now he's got. We're just real tickled with him."

Birdbirdistheword has won 2 of 3 career starts. He was fifth in a six-furlong maiden race in his debut at Arlington Park on July 30, a race won by eventual Grade 3 Arlington -Washington Futurity winner Officer Rocket. One start later, Birdbirdistheword won his maiden at about a mile on turf at Arlington on Aug. 18. From there, he shipped to Louisiana Downs for the Juvenile on Sept. 23.

"I don't think [the race] took a whole lot out of him," said McPeek. "He's fresh."

Birdbirdistheword is a son of the Storm Cat stallion Pure Prize. He races for Raymond Cottrell, and was McPeek's first stakes winner since he returned to training in April 2006. McPeek had taken a hiatus from training in June 2005.

"I needed the time off," he said. "I'd been 20 years and hadn't missed a beat. I got a rest and traveled the world with my wife and daughter and then we geared back up again."

Birdbirdistheword is based at Churchill Downs. McPeek said Robby Albarado has the mount in the Breeders' Futurity.

Going Ballistic points to MEC Mile

Going Ballistic, who closed for second in the Juvenile, will return to dirt for his next start, said his trainer, Donnie Von Hemel. He is being pointed to the $100,000 MEC Mile at Remington Park on Oct. 20.

Earlier this year, Going Ballistic won the $100,000 El Joven at one mile on turf at Retama Park with a career-best 82 Beyer. Von Hemel said Going Ballistic has improved with the move to two turns in his last several starts. He is based at Remington.

Kingship eyes Keeneland

Kingship, another stakes winner last month at Louisiana Downs, could also see stakes action at Keeneland. Following Kingship's dominant win in the $75,000 Donnie Wilhite Memorial here Sept. 23, trainer Ronny Werner said Kingship will be considered for turf stakes at Keeneland. An upcoming race for his division is the $150,000 Bryan Station for 3-year-olds at a mile on turf Oct. 15.

In the Wilhite, at 1 1/16 miles on turf, Kingship rolled to a 3 3/4-length win to earn a career-best 100 Beyer.

"He was coming off a little layoff and I was hoping he was there, and obviously he was," said Werner. "He ran a super race. He came home real strong."

Kingship's other stakes win came in the Grade 3 Arlington Classic at Arlington Park on July 1. His win in the Wilhite was Werner's second stakes win on Sept. 23. The trainer also captured the $200,000 NATC Futurity at Monmouth with Cat on a Cloud.

Werner, who plans to have a division of horses this winter at Fair Grounds in New Orleans, said he is also looking at sending a division to Oaklawn Park in Arkansas. He is currently based in Kentucky.

L'Grande d'Oro drops in class

L'Grande d'Oro will return to the overnight ranks in the fourth race Thursday after facing stakes rivals in his last three starts. He could go off second choice in the first-level allowance for 2-year-olds at six furlongs, behind the Padua Stables-owned entry of Yes It's the Truth and Sir Winston.

L'Grande d'Oro was unplaced last out in the Juvenile at Louisiana Downs, a race in which he was making his first start around two turns, and his first on turf. He returns to the main track and six furlongs, in his last two starts at that distance he has placed in two stakes, the $48,000 Minstrel at Louisiana Downs on Aug. 25, and the $100,000 Lafayette at Evangeline Downs on Sept. 4.

John Barger co-owns and trains L'Grande d'Oro and has given the mount to Luis Quinonez.

Yes It's the Truth ran six furlongs in a sharp 1:10.20 last out when he won his maiden at Remington on Sept. 9. He earned a Beyer of 77, the highest last-race number in the field. Trainer Scott Blasi has named Donnie Meche on Yes It's the Truth as well as Sir Winston, who was a maiden winner at Churchill Downs.