07/31/2009 12:00AM

Bradley expects short-lived lead


Less than a month into the Ellis Park meet, Buff Bradley finds himself atop the trainer standings, having sent out five winners. He is just not sure how much longer he can stay on the lead. The Ellis meet concludes on Labor Day, Sept. 7.

"I guess we fired a lot of good bullets off the bat that happened to get up to win," he said of his mid-sized stable. "Now we have to go through another rotation, and it's gonna get harder for them."

In looking through the second Ellis Park condition book, Bradley said he doesn't see his horses fitting as well as they did during the first portion of the meet.

As an example, he jokingly referred to the "Old Timers Classic," a $5,000 claiming race scheduled for Aug. 14 that is restricted to horses ages 8 and up.

"Got one for that," he quipped, referring to his 8-year-old Grade 1 stakes-winning gelding Brass Hat. "But I ain't gonna run him for a nickel."

Instead, Brass Hat - if he continues to do well in the coming weeks - is headed to Saratoga for the Aug. 14 Sword Dancer Invitational, a Grade 1, $500,000 turf race at 1 1/2 miles. He was scheduled to breeze Saturday at Churchill Downs, Bradley said.

Most recently, Brass Hat finished third, beaten 6 1/2 lengths by Presious Passion, in the Grade 1 United Nations at Monmouth Park on July 4. Prior to that race, Brass Hat won the Grade 3 Louisville Handicap at Churchill Downs - his biggest win since taking the 2007 Massachusetts Handicap.

For a stable like Bradley's, stakes horses such as Brass Hat are the exception, not the rule. Most of his horses are suited to claiming, maiden, and low-end allowance races - just the kind of races that Ellis Park cards - and it is for that reason, and others, that Bradley has started a meet-high 16 horses, along with fellow trainers Dawn Martin and John Hancock.

"I usually run a lot at Ellis, always have," he said. "I'm probably one of the biggest supporters of Kentucky racing and running at all of the tracks when they're open, instead of shipping out of state."

But with cutbacks in purses and racing dates at Kentucky tracks, which are struggling vs. out-of-state tracks that have expanded gambling to supplement their purses, Bradley said "I might be forced to change, look at other options."

For now Bradley's horses are running at Ellis, and running well.

Two top riders moving to Hoosier

In contrast to the trainer standings, in which Bradley holds a two-win lead over four trainers tied with three wins apiece, three riders are deadlocked atop the jockey standings.

Corey Lanerie, Victor Lebron, and Orlando Mojica have won 11 races apiece, three more than Jon Court and Leonandro Goncalves, who have each ridden eight winners.

The complexion of the rider standings is expected to change in the coming weeks, with the Hoosier Park meet now under way after a short break in the Indiana racing schedule. As planned, Lebron and Mojica have shifted their tack there.

Fridays added to schedule

Following a successful July that featured full fields and competitive racing, Ellis Park will begin racing Fridays next week, pending racing commission approval.

Facing declining business and competition for horses, the track had planned to run only weekends and Labor Day, closing day. As a result, these added days of racing do not appear in the original condition book.

Condition books for the five Fridays of added racing days are available online at Ellisparkracing.com. Entries will be taken Sunday for Friday's racing, and will continue on that schedule.

Next Friday's condition book races and "extra" races are also listed on the Sunday overnight.

* There is no true feature on Sunday's 10-race card, which is comprised solely of maiden and claiming races. The two richest races of the day are a pair of $25,000 straight maiden races, which include $10,000 supplements from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund.

* In a ceremony at Lexington's Griffin Gate Hotel on July 25, HRTV was honored with a 2008 Ohio Valley Regional Emmy Award for its "Inside Information: Dubai World Cup" show. Phil Kubel, HRTV's vice president of post production, accepted the award for the program, which was hosted by reporter Scott Hazelton.