04/13/2003 11:00PM

A change of plans for Midas Eyes


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Midas Eyes, the speedy colt who likely would have been the favorite Saturday in the Coolmore Lexington Stakes at Keeneland, will bypass the race to run instead in the April 26 Derby Trial at Churchill Downs, trainer Bobby Frankel said Monday from Hollywood Park.

Midas Eyes was scheduled to have a final workout for the Grade 2 Lexington on Sunday at Hollywood, but because of heavy rain in Southern California, the track was closed for training that morning. As the rain continued into Monday, Hollywood officials limited training to joggers that morning. Midas Eyes was booked on an early Tuesday flight to Kentucky, where he will take up residence with Frankel's other stars based at Churchill.

"I missed the work, so I'm not going to run in the Lexington," said Frankel, saying he was upset with Hollywood in regard to the track closings. "We'll just wait for the Derby Trial."

Midas Eyes was sensational in winning the seven-furlong Swale Stakes on March 15 at Gulfstream in the colt's first start since he was privately purchased on behalf of Edmund Gann. Frankel said Midas Eyes, by Touch Gold, is not a Kentucky Derby prospect and probably will not even be considered for the Preakness, even if he runs well in the Derby Trial.

Even with Midas Eyes out, a competitive field of 10 remains intact for the $325,000 Lexington, a 1 1/16-mile race that typically produces a Derby starter or two. Ministers Wild Cat, trained by Neil Drysdale, and Trust N Luck, who trainer Ralph Ziadie has said will almost certainly not run back in the Derby regardless of how he performs Saturday, now figure as the favorites in the absence of Midas Eyes.

With jockeys, these are the 3-year-olds likely for the Lexington:

Champali, Jason Lumpkins; Eye of the Tiger, Corey Nakatani; Home of Stars, Robby Albarado; Ministers Wild Cat, Victor Espinoza; Most Feared, Mark Guidry; Ocean Terrace, Shane Sellers; Scrimshaw, Mike Smith; Showdown, no rider; Touch the Wire, Nakatani on a double call; and Trust N Luck, Cornelio Velasquez.

Ocean Terrace, who will be trying to rebound from a last-place finish in the April 5 Santa Anita Derby, breezed five furlongs Sunday in 1:00.40 over a fast track at Santa Anita. Like Midas Eyes, he was booked on the Tuesday charter from California, along with Derby contender Buddy Gil and several other horses.

Most Feared, trained by Ronny Werner, breezed Monday at Churchill, going five furlongs in 1:00.60 over a fast track.