06/05/2009 12:00AM

Bullsbay returning to his perfect spot

Tom Keyser
Bullsbay and Jeremy Rose will again be together in the Stephen Foster on Saturday.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Bullsbay will put his perfect record at Churchill Downs on the line next Saturday when he faces perhaps the toughest test of his career as one of the main challengers to Einstein in the Grade 1, $600,000 Stephen Foster Handicap.

Based at the Fair Hill training center in Maryland with trainer Graham Motion, Bullsbay won the Grade 3 Alysheba Stakes on the May 1 Kentucky Oaks undercard to move his record over the Churchill main track to 3 for 3. He posted two powerful allowance wins here last fall.

"Clearly he has an affinity for that track," Motion said Friday from Fair Hill. "My thoughts going into the Alysheba was that if he ran well, he'd deserve a shot at the Foster. He's trained very well since then, so we'll be there."

Jeremy Rose, who has ridden him in his last three races, will have the mount back on Bullsbay, a 5-year-old Tiznow horse owned by Steven Mitchell, Frank Lewkowitz, and Joe Rice. Motion said Bullsbay will be vanned Monday or Tuesday to Keeneland, where Motion has a string of horses, then take the short van ride to Churchill on the morning of the race.

Einstein will be a solid favorite when he attempts to become the only horse besides Lava Man to win a Grade 1 race on three different types of surfaces: turf, synthetic, and dirt. The top victory for Einstein on dirt came here last fall in the Grade 2 Clark Handicap.

Einstein was scheduled to have his final pre-race work early Sunday over the Churchill main track. Julien Leparoux has the mount for trainer Helen Pitts on the 7-year-old Brazilian-bred.

Besides Bullsbay and Einstein, the field for the 1 1/8-mile Foster also is expected to include Arson Squad, Macho Again, Researcher, Finallymadeit, and Dubious Miss. Weights were to be assigned Saturday, and entries will be drawn Wednesday.

The Foster is one of five graded stakes on the day. Besides the flurry of stakes action, the afternoon also will feature the presentation of engraved trophies to the winning connections of the 2009 Kentucky Derby and Oaks. Among the confirmed attendees for those between-races ceremonies are Chip Woolley, the trainer of Derby winner Mine That Bird, and Hal Wiggins, who trained Rachel Alexandra to win the Oaks before she was sold shortly thereafter and transferred into the stable of Steve Asmussen.

Here is a quick look at the supporting stakes on Foster Day:

* Grade 2, $200,000 Fleur de Lis Handicap: Miss Isella, winner of the Louisville Distaff on the Oaks undercard, heads a short list of fillies and mares likely for the 1 1/8-mile Fleur de Lis. Distinctive Dixie, Kiss With a Twist, Santa Teresita, Swift Temper, and Unforgotten also will go, with possible starters being All Smiles and Temple Street, according to the Churchill racing office.

* Grade 2, $150,000 Jefferson Cup: Advice will run for the first time since finishing 13th in the Derby when he makes his turf debut for trainer Todd Pletcher. El Crespo, Jake Wil Gallop, and No Inflation are the other 3-year-olds confirmed to the 1 1/8-mile race.

* Grade 3, $150,000 Regret Stakes: At least six 3-year-old fillies, none of them a stakes winner, are under consideration for the 1 1/8-mile turf race: Banker's Choice, Keertana, Oculuna, Prytania, Super Poni, and The Best Day Ever.

* Grade 3, $100,000 Northern Dancer Stakes: Warrior's Reward, an impressive winner of an entry-level allowance on the Oaks undercard for trainer Ian Wilkes, figures as the favorite in this 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds, with the other known probables being Gresham, Omniscient, Parade Clown, and Successful Dan.

Looking for festive Friday evenings

Churchill already is heavily promoting the three night programs to be run later in the meet. The June 19, June 26, and July 2 cards will begin at 6 p.m. Eastern, with the latter part of each program contested under the temporary lighting system in the process of being installed on the perimeter of the main track. Track spokesmen are comparing the historic impact of night racing at Churchill to the first night baseball game held at Wrigley Field in Chicago in 1988.

General admission is $10 for the first night program and $6 for the next two. The first night will feature attractions such as a red-carpet entry for fans, various genres of live music, and a multitude of high-end dining options.

A trial run of sorts for horsemen will be available June 15 and June 16 when the lights will be turned on for training at 5 a.m., one hour before the track normally opens.

England back on smaller scale

David England, who dispersed his medium-sized public stable at Turfway Park in December after lamenting the negative course that Kentucky racing seems to be taking, is back in the game, albeit to a lesser degree.

"I've got a couple horses I'm just kind of messing with," said England, an owner and/or trainer since 1995. "Can't keep me away, can they?"

England, 52, has started two horses since late December, most recently Shimmery, the fourth-place finisher in the first race here last Sunday.

* In the first race Thursday, trainer Dale Romans sent out the one-two finishers when Austons Sure Cure ($19.40), Leparoux up, edged away in the final 100 yards to defeat Flat Water, the 3-5 favorite.