05/20/2010 11:00PM

Distance a plus for Telling in Louisville

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Reading between the lines, Telling surely needed his last race at Keeneland.

"There wasn't any pace, and the race was a little short for him anyway," trainer Steve Hobby said. "But it really should help us toward this race Saturday."

Telling, winner of the Grade 1 Sword Dancer last summer at Saratoga, looks as good as any of the 11 older turf horses in a well-matched renewal of the Grade 3, $100,000 Louisville Handicap, highlight of an 11-race Saturday card at Churchill Downs. Telling was returning from a five-month layoff when he raced evenly and finished fourth in a 1 1/8-mile turf allowance on April 9 at Keeneland.

By stretching out to the 1 1/2-mile distance of the Louisville, Telling "should do a lot better, I would think," Hobby said this week from Delaware Park, where he has a 36-horse stable. "He's coming up to this the right way."

Telling, a 6-year-old horse by A.P. Indy, will break from post 3 with Shaun Bridgmohan aboard in the 73rd running of the Louisville. One primary challenger is the defending champion, Brass Hat, the 9-year-old local icon who will carry high weight of 119 pounds when he breaks from post 5 with Calvin Borel up.

Brass Hat was a fast-closing second in his last race, the Grade 2 Elkhorn on closing day of the Keeneland spring meet, and trainer Buff Bradley said the gelding "came out the race in great shape. He really is an amazing horse, the way he just keeps bouncing back and wanting more."

Another Louisville starter also has known success in this race: Silverfoot, a 10-year-old gray gelding who swept three straight runnings from 2004-06. He will have Corey Lanerie aboard from post 9.

With most of the top contenders being stretch-runners, the early fractions in the three-turn Louisville figure to be set by Eagle Poise, with perhaps Free Fighter, March to Victory, and Bearpath giving closest chase. A slow enough pace clearly would make Eagle Poise, a Juddmonte Farms homebred trained by Bill Mott, a front-running danger under Jamie Theriot, although the 4-year-old colt has never won a stakes race and is facing a number of multiple graded stakes winners.