09/24/2008 11:00PM

Breen on the road with talented juvenile pair


FLORENCE, Ky. - Kelly Breen worked for years for trainers Ben Perkins Sr. and Jr., both of whom were renowned for their work with 2-year-olds in New Jersey and nearby racing states. On Saturday, Breen will look to make a mark in Kentucky with his own 2-year-olds when he sends out major contenders in the $100,000 Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies and $100,000 Kentucky Cup Juvenile at Turfway Park.

Breen, 39, is a New Jersey native and resident based primarily at Monmouth Park. The demands of his ever-expanding stable, which he opened in 1999, lead to plenty of traveling, but seldom does he have the kind of opportunity to make an out-of-town splash as he does Saturday. Breen will saddle Bold Union in the one-mile Juvenile Fillies and West Side Bernie in the 1 1/16-mile Juvenile.

"Both horses have a world of talent, but they're both still a little bit green," said Breen. "We're coming there looking to see if they can step it up."

Bold Union, winner of the Astoria at Belmont Park two starts back, will start from post 1 and have Juliet's Spirit as her main rival in a field of nine entered in the Juvenile Fillies. West Side Bernie, a Monmouth maiden winner in his lone start, will be more of an outsider when he breaks from post 7 in a field of eight in the Juvenile.

Both of the Breen 2-year-olds will be ridden by Stewart Elliott, who made a lasting impact in this state as the rider of the 2004 Kentucky Derby winner, Smarty Jones.

The Juvenile Fillies leads off the five-race Kentucky Cup series as the sixth of 12 races. The Grade 3 Juvenile goes as the eighth.

Saratoga winner looks dangerous

Half of the 10 3-year-olds in the $100,000 KC Sprint (race 7) made their last start at Saratoga, but only one of them, Hatta Fort, was a winner, as he rallied to take a second-level turf allowance on Aug. 24 for Godolphin Racing. Working on the widely held assumption that turf horses tend to fare just as well, if not better, than dirt horses when moving to Polytrack, Hatta Fort looks like a major threat in a six-furlong, Grade 3 race that also has Eaton's Gift, Salute the Sarge, Fatal Bullet, and Gentleman James as solid contenders.

Hatta Fort will be ridden by Julien Leparoux, who recently returned to his old stomping grounds, Turfway, where his 167 winners at the 2006 winter-spring meet are a track record. Leparoux is looking to build his business toward the 17-day Keeneland fall meet that begins Friday.

Woodbine invader sharp

If the Turfway Polytrack is anything like the Woodbine Polytrack, then Bear Now should be tough to beat in the $100,000 KC Distaff (race 9). In 11 starts over the Woodbine Poly, Bear Now has won 7 races and $542,062, standout numbers among the field of seven entered in the Grade 3 Distaff.

Devil House figures to take the early lead in the 1 1/16-mile Distaff, with Bear Now not far behind. Fancy Fusaichi, Marquee Delivery, and Maren's Meadow figure as late threats.

Breeding money won't go unclaimed

Last year, Hard Spun left some money on the Turfway table when he defeated Street Sense in the KC Classic. As a Pennsylvania-bred, he was ineligible for Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund bonuses that are a sizable part of the Classic purse - although, in an entirely separate deal, he did earn an extra $150,000 that was offered as a bonus to entice him and Street Sense into the race.

That situation won't come up this year, as all six Classic starters are KTDF nominees. The $350,000 purse includes $150,000 in KTDF bonuses.

Fewer guest-star riders

One of the noticeable effects of so many other tracks hosting major Breeders' Cup preps on their Saturday cards is that far fewer out-of-town jockeys than usual will be coming to Turfway for the Kentucky Cup.

In prior years, when there were fewer conflicts, this day tended to get quite a few big-name jockeys - as evidenced by the Kentucky Cup race histories that show Hall of Fame riders Pat Day, Chris McCarron, Gary Stevens, and Mike Smith as previous winners.

* A longstanding Turfway custom is to card maiden special weight races that, for whatever reason, tend to come up exceptionally tough on the Kentucky Cup card in the fall and the Lane's End card in the spring. Tradition holds: Five maiden races, all but one of them for 2-year-olds, are on the Saturday card.

* On Saturday, Turfway has opted to roll the pick fours in consecutive races rather than spreading them out through the 12-race card. Most of the pick four races are part of the Kentucky Cup. The first pick four begins on the sixth race, the second on the seventh, and the third on the eighth.

* A team of four TVG commentators, led by Todd Schrupp and Jill Byrne, is scheduled to be at Turfway for live coverage throughout the Saturday card.