08/31/2005 11:00PM

Church Service a bargain

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JJ Zamaiko Photography
Palladio, winner of the Grade 2 Ohio Derby on dirt, will switch to turf on Sunday in the Grade 3 Saranac. In April he won an allowance on the grass.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - When trainer Lisa Lewis picked out Church Service for owner Peter Karches at the 2004 Keeneland September yearling sale, she really liked what she saw, but was surprised at how much they had to pay.

Church Service cost only $32,000 despite a solid pedigree - he's by Pulpit, whose stud fee is $60,000, and out of 1998 Tropical Park Oaks winner To Be Approved.

"He wasn't really big, but athletic and sound-looking," Lewis said. "I was surprised we bought him for so cheap. I thought maybe we didn't see something that others did."

About one year later, Lewis still likes what she sees from Church Service. An impressive maiden grass winner in his first start, Church Service leads a field of 10 2-year-olds in the inaugural running of Saturday's $65,000 With Anticipation at 1 1/16 miles on the turf. The race is the ninth of 11 on a card that features the Grade 1 Forego.

Lewis had Church Service gelded last December, something she expected would be necessary when she bought him. Church Service had an ascended testicle, and since prospective buyers knew he should be gelded, his price tag was affected.

Said Lewis: "Since we knew he would have to be gelded, at that price, Peter said, 'We're just buying a racehorse.' "

In his first start, Aug. 5 at Saratoga, going the same distance as the With Anticipation, Church Service closed from the back of the pack to win by one length. He successfully navigated early traffic trouble and showed the ability to route at a young age. Ramon Dominguez retains the mount Saturday.

Other than Church Service, the only others in the field who have won on the turf are Immersed in Gold and Charles Town shipper Unbridled Behavior. Four starters are trying grass for the first time.

Film Maker still targeting BC

Trainer Graham Motion said that Film Maker, second in the 2004 Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf, is on course for another try in that race with a start in Monday's Grade 3 Glens Falls Handicap, followed by a start in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational at Belmont on Oct. 1.

Motion said that Film Maker encountered trouble in both the New York Handicap and the Diana, where she finished third and fourth, respectively. In the New York, she was jostled and shuffled back near the final turn. She rallied, only to come up a half-length short of the winner, Wend. Motion said he regrets running Film Maker in the Diana, saying the turf course was very hard that day.

"To be honest, I think she's as good as she was last year," said Motion, who trains Film Maker for Donald Adam. "I think her past performances don't tell the whole story.

I think she's been very unlucky."

Film Maker, third in last year's Glens Falls, has had four different jockeys in six races since. Canadian rider Todd Kabel will be the fifth, but Motion said Kabel will be her regular rider from now on. Kabel rode T.D. Vance to win the Grade 2 Hall of Fame Stakes for Motion and Adam here on Aug. 8.

Ashado had foot bruise

Ashado, who dead-heated for fourth as the favorite in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign Handicap on Aug. 26, was found to have a "moderate" bruise to her left front foot, trainer Todd Pletcher said. She has resumed

training, however, and Pletcher still hopes to get her to the Beldame and the Breeders' Cup Distaff.

"The one thing that we did notice after going over her thoroughly was she had kind of a moderate foot bruise in her left front foot," Pletcher said. "We've been working on that. Whether or not that was there and it came out, it's hard to say."

Ashado resumed training on Wednesday to prepare for the $750,000 Beldame, which will be run at Belmont Park on Oct. 1.

"If she trains satisfactory, she's going to run in the Beldame," Pletcher said. "If I feel I needed to train her up to the Breeders' Cup, I could do that."

Meanwhile, Pletcher said that Limehouse, who has made more than $1 million on dirt, may be moved to the turf for the remainder of the year. Pletcher said he plans to work Limehouse on the grass, possibly before the Saratoga meet ends.

In his last two starts, Limehouse finished a well-beaten fifth in both the Hollywood Gold Cup and the Whitney Handicap.

Sis City done for the year

Sis City, who emerged as an early-season divisional leader among 3-year-old fillies, was sent home on Wednesday to Stonerside Farm in Lexington, Ky., trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. said Thursday. He said Sis City would be given 60 days off and then pointed to a 4-year-old campaign.

"She's not a happy camper right now," Dutrow said. "She's not on her game."

Dutrow said he might suggest to the owners that they have Sis City examined by Dr. Larry Bramlage at the Rood and Riddle Equine Clinic in Lexington.

"It's up to John Adger to see if he wants to run her through Bramlage's care," said Dutrow, referring to the racing manager for Stonerside Stable. "I don't see it as a bad move;

I also don't see it as being necessary. After 60 days, we'll start her back in training."

Sis City began the year with dominant victories in the Grade 2 Davona Dale at Gulfstream and the Grade 1 Ashland at Keeneland. But she finished fourth as the 3-5 favorite in the Kentucky Oaks, and was also fourth in the Delaware Oaks and Alabama.

Palladio back on turf in Saranac

Palladio, fifth in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth on Aug. 7, will switch to the grass Sunday in the Grade 3 Saranac for 3-year-olds. Trainer Roger Attfield said Palladio will ship here Friday after a morning gallop at his Woodbine base.

Palladio has raced twice on turf, including an allowance win at Keeneland in April. Since then he has won two stakes on dirt, including the Grade 2 Ohio Derby.

Richard Dos Ramos, Palladio's regular rider, has a commitment for Attfield at Woodbine on Sunday, so Jose Santos will pick up the mount.

Woodlander, trained by Tom Albertrani, is the likely favorite in the Saranac. He has won three in a row, including the Grade 3 Lexington at Belmont on July 10.

Nothing But Fun to Cotillion

Nothing But Fun, who remained undefeated with her 1 1/2-length win in the Victory Ride Stakes on Aug. 25, will attempt to stretch out in the Grade 2, $300,000 Cotillion Handicap on Oct. 1 at Philadelphia Park. The Cotillion is run at 1 1/16 miles.

Nothing But Fun is undefeated in three races, all sprints. Still, trainer Mike Hushion believes that Nothing But Fun, a daughter of Dixie Union, will relish route races.

"I've always felt that way," Hushion said. "I never thought she was a sprinter."

Nothing But Fun earned a 96 Beyer Speed Figure for her Victory Ride score.

* The New York Racing Association on Thursday named Irene Posio vice president/treasurer and controller, effective immediately. Posio has been NYRA's controller and treasurer since March 2004.

- additional reporting by David Grening