08/21/2002 12:00AM

Columbus track report


COLUMBUS, Neb. - Fans in Nebraska have reason to watch with interest as Awesome Humor continues her ascent in the 2-year-old filly ranks this year. The recent winner of the Grade 2 Adirondack Stakes at Saratoga, Awesome Humor is out of a multiple stakes winner in Nebraska, Horns Gray.

A Kentucky-bred daughter of Pass the Tab, Horns Gray won a maiden race at Ak-Sar-Ben in 1993 and within six weeks had become a multiple stakes winner. She captured the Platte County Futurity and Clubhouse Breeders' Cup Special at Columbus in her next two starts. She added another stakes win at Lincoln in October of that year as she compiled a 4-2-1 record as a 2-year-old for trainer Larry Donlin.

A year later she returned to Columbus and once again dominated, with a victory in the Inaugural Handicap and then against older rivals in the Hall of Fame and Warren G. Albert handicaps. She retired from racing in 1996 with a record of 12-11-7 from 52 starts and $120,177 in earnings.

Horns Gray's career as a broodmare is also off to a solid start, with two winners from her first three foals. Surf Club, a 4-year-old filly by Ocean Crest, has posted six wins and more than $100,000 in earnings. The 2-year-old Awesome Humor is 3 for 3 with a pair of graded stakes wins and is pointing to the Spinaway Stakes at Saratoga next weekend.

The local rider colony received a boost this week, with Earl Sutton and Mike Ashburn named to ride when Friday's entries were drawn. The Columbus jockey colony numbers 12 with the addition of the riders, who came up from Kansas.

John Conheeney, who injured his knee in a spill at Lincoln, said that he is hoping to be back in the saddle by the first week of September. Mark Anderson has packed his tack to take a week off then will return to Beulah Park when that meet starts up.