04/06/2003 11:00PM

Cat Genius inherits role of pacesetter from Great Notion


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - With the quick Great Notion set to pass the Grade 2, $500,000 Arkansas Derby on Saturday in favor of the Grade 1, $750,000 Blue Grass at Keeneland the same afternoon, the pace of the Oaklawn Park race could be controlled by Cat Genius.

Great Notion blew out about a quarter of a mile for the Blue Grass on Monday, and was to fly to Kentucky on Tuesday, said trainer Darrin Miller. He will be ridden by Larry Melancon.

"We gave him a little stretch down the lane," said Miller.

Miller will be based in Kentucky after Oaklawn closes, and Great Notion's owners live there. Those factors played a role in the decision to go to the Blue Grass.

"He's training great," said Miller. "I'm very happy with him right now. He's doing everything he's supposed to, so we're going to point for [the Blue Grass] and see what happens."

Great Notion made a local splash when he wired his rivals by nine lengths in the $75,000 Southwest Stakes on March 1. In his most recent start, he ran second despite a trouble-filled trip in the $125,000 Rebel here March 22.

For the Blue Grass, Miller said he is considering putting a shadow roll on Great Notion.

"He's trained in it the last couple of days," he said. "It's been part of his daily training routine to see if it makes any bit of difference."

Cat Genius has won 4 of 5 career starts, with all his victories coming in wire-to-wire fashion. He is trained by Tom Amoss and is one of 11 probables for the Arkansas Derby.

The others are Region of Merit and Aristocat, the one-two finishers in the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby; Eugene's Third Son, second last out in the Grade 2 Lane's End; Man Among Men, winner of the $75,000 Sham; Crowned King and Sir Cherokee, the first- and fourth-place finishers in the Rebel; Defrere's Vixen; Christine's Outlaw; Saint Liam; and Ten Cents a Shine.

Comic Truth remains possible for the race, but is under consideration for the $75,000 Instant Racing Breeders' Cup on the undercard Saturday, said trainer Cole Norman. Another Arkansas Derby possible is maiden winner Sell to Survive.

The field for the Arkansas Derby will be drawn Wednesday.

Go for Glamour ships for Fantasy

Oaklawn has adopted an earlier entry schedule for the final week of racing, so the fields for the Grade 3, $150,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap on Thursday, and the Grade 2, $200,000 Fantasy for 3-year-old fillies on Friday were both set as of Monday. The stakes are part of the Racing Festival of the South.

Go for Glamour, who was third last out to Composure in the Grade 1, $300,000 Santa Anita Oaks, ships east to take on five others in the Fantasy: Westerly Breeze and Ruby's Reception, who finished one-two last year in the Grade 2 Alcibiades; My Trusty Cat, winner of the $75,000 Honeybee; Harbor Blues; and Kristina's Wish.

Alex Solis will ride Go for Glamour for trainer Beau Greely.

Beau's Town will attempt to remain perfect at Oaklawn in the Count Fleet. He has won all four of his starts at the track, and last out was a 2 3/4-length winner of the $150,000 Pelleteri Breeders' Cup at Fair Grounds.

Beau's Town will break from post 2, and will be an odds-on favorite under Jamie Theriot in a field of six that is completed by Cojet, Big Bad George, Chindi, Honor Me, and Sand Ridge.

Horses arrive for Festival

It was musical airplanes on Monday, when Azeri and Medaglia d'Oro left town for Southern California and a group of horses arrived for stakes this weekend at Oaklawn.

Among those who flew in were Eugene's Third Son, Aristocat, and Go for Glamour.

Region of Merit was scheduled to fly to Oaklawn on Tuesday.

Several options for Mandy's Gold

Mandy's Gold, who finished third to Azeri in the Grade 1, $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap on Saturday, has a number of options for her next start, said trainer Mike Gorham.

She will be considered for the Grade 2, $300,000 Louisville Breeders' Cup at Churchill, the Pimlico Breeders' Cup Distaff, and the Grade 2, $200,000 Shuvee at Belmont Park.

Mandy's Gold, who won the Grade 1 Ruffian last September, has been at Oaklawn for the last few weeks. She shipped in for the Grade 3 Oaklawn Breeders' Cup. She will be based at Delaware Park for the summer.

* The Arkansas Racing Commission on Saturday approved Oaklawn's racing calendar for next year. Oaklawn will race 55 days next year, from Jan. 23 to April 10.