09/11/2009 12:00AM

Bradley heads for richer land

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River Downs
Gleam of Hope wins the Cradle at River Downs. His next start is not set.

Buff Bradley has been a staunch supporter of Kentucky racing ever since he resigned as the late Clarence Picou's assistant to open his own public stable in 1993. In the years to follow, not only have the vast majority of Bradley's starters come at Kentucky tracks, but he has served on various horsemen's boards and given generously of his time in supporting industry causes.

This winter, however, Bradley will be leaving with his most of his horses. He intends to apply for stalls in south Florida, deeply discouraged by the weakened purse structure at his longtime home track, Turfway Park in Florence, Ky.

"I'm not sure how many I'll be taking to Florida, and I may leave a few behind to run here," said Bradley, 46. "The thing is, we need year-round racing in Kentucky, and something has to change."

Industry proponents have been clamoring for years for legislative relief in the form of alternative gaming at state racetracks. Until such change occurs, the exodus continues, particularly from Turfway, which currently is conducting a 22-day fall meet and hosts the majority of its dates during a four-month winter stretch (December through March). Purse levels have fallen at Turfway in recent years while tracks in other slots-fueled states such as Indiana, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia have boosted theirs.

Bradley said he is trying to upgrade the quality of his stable and that, unfortunately, winter racing at Turfway does not meet his requirements.

Bradley, who lives in Frankfort, Ky., with his wife, Kim, and three children, was the leading trainer with 11 wins at the recently concluded meet at Ellis Park. He is best known for his work with Brass Hat, the $2 million earner bred and owned by his father, Fred Bradley.

Bradley said being away from his family for lengthy periods of time is particularly hard. "It's the reality of our current situation," he said. "I think we can now see that people are leaving and not coming back. It is going to hurt racing at every track that is still here."

Bradley will become the latest trainer who traditionally has operated a sizable stable year-round in Kentucky but will be taking his best horses elsewhere for the winter. Others who have de-emphasized Turfway after experiencing considerable success there for years include Greg Foley, Bernie Flint, Dale Romans, Paul McGee, and Vickie Foley.

Two riders off to hot starts

Jockeys Leandro Goncalves and Victor Lebron got away to quick starts at the Turfway fall meet by recording three-win nights during the opening programs. Goncalves won three on opening night, Wednesday, while Lebron countered with three on Thursday.

Other notable feats during the first two programs were training doubles by Jeff Talley (Wednesday) and Mike Maker (Thursday). Also, jockey Jimmy Lopez rode one winner each night. Lopez, a former longtime Kentucky regular who has bounced around to various circuits in recent years, has recovered from a broken wrist suffered early in the Colonial Downs meet.

Cowboy rides again

R.A. "Cowboy" Jones, the 66-year-old jockey whose career started in 1959, is named to ride I'm Wealthy in the seventh race Sunday at Turfway.

Jones, who mostly works as an exercise rider, rode twice at the Ellis meet, finishing unplaced with both mounts. Before that, he went 0 for 4 in 2008, 0 for 1 in 2005, and 3 for 42 in 2004. His last victory came at Turfway on Sept. 15, 2004.

Gleam of Hope's next uncertain

The next start for Gleam of Hope, winner of the $200,000 Cradle Stakes at River Downs on Monday, has not yet been determined.

"One day at a time," said trainer Tony Reinstedler.

The Cradle victory was the richest in a non-graded stakes for Reinstedler, a trainer since 1990. A win by Percy Hope in the Grade 3, $500,000 Lone Star Derby in 2001 is his biggest.

Kentucky Cup picture unclear

Nominations for the three-race Kentucky Cup at Turfway close Wednesday, and racing officials said this week that they had yet to focus closely on what horses might be under consideration for the Sept. 26 series.

Easily the most notable prospect is Hold Me Back for the $200,000 KC Classic. WinStar Farm racing manager Elliott Walden said Friday the 3-year-old colt is "definitely being pointed that way," with Julien Leparoux set to ride.

* Kentucky Downs, the turf-only track located near Franklin, Ky., kicks off a four-day meet next Saturday, Sept. 19, with the turf version of the Kentucky Cup: the $150,000 KC Turf, $50,000 KC Ladies Turf, and $50,000 Turf Dash. The Kentucky Downs dates are Sept. 19, 21, 26, and 28.

* The first casting call for extras for the upcoming Disney movie "Secretariat" drew a throng of prospects. More than 2,000 people showed up Thursday at Churchill Downs to stand in long lines to fill out applications to be part of the movie. The second and last casting call was scheduled for Saturday in Lexington, Ky. Filming for the extras is supposed to start later this month and is expected to take about two weeks.