03/23/2006 12:00AM

Brass Hat's form too sharp to ignore


NEW YORK - North American racing fans have to get up early Saturday morning to watch the Dubai World Cup races halfway across the world. Here at home, the main events on Saturday's stakes schedule are the Lane's End at Turfway Park, the Rampart Handicap at Gulfstream Park, and the San Luis Rey Handicap at Santa Anita.

Dubai World Cup

At this writing, Electrocutionist was as low as 4-5 in one betting shop in England, and for purely selfish reasons, I hope the North American bettors who jump into this race like him just as much. That is because I'm against him. One of Electrocutionist's two career losses was a miss by a nose to Shirocco, who impressed winning the Breeders' Cup Turf last fall. But in his other defeat, Electrocutionist was simply outrun by moderate opposition in last October's Canadian International without excuse.

I'm also against Magna Graduate. His three stakes wins last fall don't look especially strong in hindsight, and he is suspect at Saturday's distance.

Brass Hat is a strong play here off his terrific win in the Donn Handicap last time out. Some might argue that the stretch-running Brass Hat benefited from a hotly contested pace, but he also came from way back and drowned his field over a sloppy track that was intensely speed favoring. Brass Hat is currently in career form. The Donn was his third straight stakes victory, and in every one of those clear-cut wins, he had something left at the finish, strongly suggesting he will relish the added distance he gets in this race.

Lane's End Stakes

Hemingway's Key found the likes of Barbaro in the Holy Bull Stakes, and Corinthian and First Samurai in the Fountain of Youth Stakes, to be too much to handle. Hemingway's Key finds no such opponents here, however, and is the bet.

Hemingway's Key didn't do any sort of running in the Holy Bull when he went against the grain of a speed-favoring sloppy track. But his effort in the Fountain of Youth wasn't bad, especially when placed in context of this field. He was beaten only 7 1/2 lengths by Corinthian, who has since been injured, and a length less than that by First Samurai, and either one of those would be 1-5 in this race. The 84 Beyer that Hemingway's Key got in the Fountain of Youth is actually very competitive against this group.

But here's what is most intriguing about Hemingway's Key. He's adding blinkers. He had a fast workout last week at Gulfstream, presumably with his new equipment, and his trainer, Nick Zito, boasts excellent statistics when putting blinkers on his horses.

Rushaway Stakes

In addition to Hemingway's Key in the Lane's End, I like the Zito-trained Fabled.

Fabled ran well, and consistently quick, winning twice and finishing second in his first three starts. And though his distant fifth last time out in the Hutcheson looks dismal on paper, that race is a throw out. Not only did Fabled run into two highly regarded 3-year-olds in Keyed Entry and First Samurai, he did so at a distance that might eventually prove to be right in their wheelhouse. Moreover, Fabled was rushed early to stay close to those two over a sloppy, speed-biased track. Judging from his first three starts that is not his preferred running style. Fabled is suited to the stretch out to this distance, and this time he might fall into the kind of perfect stalking trip he likes, sitting off an early pace disputed by High Cotton, Mark of Success, Fidrych, and perhaps even Warrior Within.


Nad Al Sheba: Dubai World Cup
3 and up (Southern Hemisphere) and 4 and up (Northern Hemisphere), about 1 1/4 miles

Approximate post: Eastern-12:20 p.m., Central-11:20 a.m., Mountain-10:20 a.m., Pacific-9:20 a.m.; Dubai, U. A. E., forecast: Clear, 75¦

3Kane Hekilin/an/an/a5-1
4Choctaw Nation1019010315-1
7Brass Hat109103964-1
8Magna Graduate9410610610-1
10Star King Mann/an/an/a25-1
11Super Frolic681081058-1

Odds by Alan Shuback

Turfway Park: Rushaway Stakes
3-year-olds, 1 1/16 miles

Approximate post: E-5:15 p.m., C-4:15 p.m., M-3:15 p.m., P-2:15 p.m.; Florence, Ky., forecast: Chance of showers, 45¦

1High Cotton1892913-1
3Warrior Within4993798-1
4Warwick Wonder73776915-1
5Mark of Success7792939-2
6Bear Character78687420-1
9Special Interest68685320-1
10Kings Challenge85858110-1
11New Awakening78477030-1
12In A Flash8774n/a8-1
Also eligible:
13Cape Seabastian5026-50-1

Odds by Bill Howard

Turfway Park: Lane's End Stakes
3-year-olds, 1 1/8 miles

Approximate post: E-5:45 p.m., C-4:45 p.m., M-3:45 p.m., P-2:45 p.m.; Florence, Ky., forecast: Chance of showers, 45¦

2With a City73858030-1
4Starspangled Gator80787930-1
5Tahoe Warrior9086779-2
6Sharp Attack73754815-1
7Seaside Retreat75797412-1
8Hemingway's Key8467804-1
10More Than Regal84717215-1
11Pair of Kings79765620-1
12Silent Timesn/an/an/a5-1

Track morning line odds