02/13/2003 12:00AM

Connally sets up for late runners

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Green Fee, who is the class of Saturday night's $200,000 Connally Breeders' Cup Turf at Sam Houston Race Park, and Candid Glen, who has won the last two runnings, will both be dependent on pace to win the 1 1/8-mile turf race, which drew a full field of 12.

It appears they should get the pace they need. Several in the field are capable of helping set a fast pace, including Runaway Choice, a former sprinter; Rasby, who is coming out of a one-mile race; and Dynameaux and Even the Score, who both have natural speed.

The race is the highlight of the Sam Houston meet, and it will be supported by four undercard stakes: the $50,000 Turf Sprint, which drew the 2001 winner, Testify; the $50,000 Jersey Lilly, which features Grade 3 Regret winner Distant Valley; and two divisions of the $75,000 Texas Stallion Stakes, one of which drew Call Me Lefty, who was runner-up in the Grade 3 Lecomte at Fair Grounds on Jan. 25.

Dan Peitz, who trains Green Fee, the 118-pound highweight, looks for a close finish in the Connally. Green Fee closed from 12 lengths off the pace to win the Grade 2 Kelso at Belmont on Oct. 5, and Peitz expects him to flying late again on Saturday.

"Normally it's a calvary charge at the end, and I expect the same kind of race," said Peitz.

Peitz and Green Fee's owners, Robert and Lawana Low, made plans to send Green Fee to Sam Houston soon after his last race, a fifth as the favorite in the $75,000 Colonel Bradley at Fair Grounds. It was his first start since he finished fifth to Domedriver in the Breeders' Cup Mile on Oct. 26.

"I expected him to run a little more powerful race than he did," Peitz said of the Colonel Bradley. "He was kind of even on the end. I chalked it up to the fact that I'm not convinced he loves the turf course there, and right then after the race I talked to the Lows about this race."

Peitz has given the mount to Larry Melancon, while Candid Glen will have E.J. Perrodin aboard.

Candid Glen comes into the Connally on the heels of an eighth-place finish in the $150,000 Fair Grounds Breeders' Cup Handicap on Feb. 1. That was a rare off-the-board finish for Candid Glen, who has earned $671,330 for his owner, Glen Warren.

"In his last race, the pace was super, super slow," said Candid Glen's trainer, Andrew Leggio Jr. "He was running down the lane. He ended up being beat a length for second money."

Outside of Candid Glen, the only other horse to win two runnings of the Connally is Chorwon, who captured the race in 1998 and 1999.

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