11/12/2004 12:00AM

Cool Conductor does well to rate

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Four Footed Fotos
Cool Conductor (left), Jose Santos up, comes from off the pace to win the Hawthorne Derby.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Cool Conductor ran off in many of his races this summer and early fall. Sunday, during the inaugural running of the $150,000 Commonwealth Turf at Churchill Downs, the aim is simply to have him run away in the stretch.

Although settled under a hard hold in winning the Hawthorne Derby last month, he has often been overly eager. That was evident in the Storm Cat Stakes on Oct. 10 at Keeneland, when he dragged Pat Day to the lead and faded to fourth in the stretch. That race followed a fifth-place finish in the Secretariat, a contest in which he set a furious pace.

Following the Storm Cat, trainer Bill Mott gave the mount to Jose Santos in the Hawthorne Derby, instructing him to restrain him from going to the front. The change in tactics worked, and Cool Conductor rallied from sixth to win by a neck.

He earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 92, down from the 95 he received in the Storm Cat and the 98 he got in the Secretariat. Facing a promising, if somewhat unaccomplished group of 3-year-olds in the Commonwealth, he needs to run back to his better numbers to win, something he is in position to do.

After racing on less than a week's rest in the Hawthorne Derby, he enters the 1 1/16-mile Commonwealth Turf following a break of nearly a month. He also returns to a course that he likes. He crushed allowance foes here in the spring, and later ran third behind Prince Arch and Kitten's Joy in the Jefferson Cup.

In taking a return mount on Cool Conductor in the Commonwealth Turf, Santos is set to become the first major American jockey to come from out of town to ride at Churchill Downs since the boycott of races by some local jockeys took place earlier in the week. British rider Kieren Fallon accepted mounts on Saturday and is named aboard in the Commonwealth Turf.

Two other jockeys not regularly based at Churchill - Horacio Karamanos and Carlos Marquez - have also been brought in for mounts in the Sunday feature.

, a two-time stakes winner on turf, shares similarities with Cool Conductor. A one-dimensional front-runner early in his career, he has learned to rate in recent months. He settled in a tracking position, just behind a clear leader, before taking control at the top of the stretch in winning the Paterson Stakes at The Meadowlands in his last race Oct. 8. A son of Forestry, he is trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Brice Blanc.