08/07/2001 11:00PM

DRF's around the ovals

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Balto Star possible for Pennsylvania Derby

Macho Uno isn't the only well-known 3-year-old looking to run in next month's Grade 3 Pennsylvania Derby at Philadelphia Park.

Balto Star, a front-runner who used his speed to win a pair of Grade 2 stakes on the road to the Kentucky Derby, is considered a strong possibility for the Sept. 3 Pennsylvania Derby, which is worth $500,000.

According to trainer Todd Pletcher, Balto Star may be better suited for the 1 1/8 miles of the Pennsylvania Derby than the 1 1/4 miles of the Travers at Saratoga on Aug. 25.

Balto Star rose to prominence by winning the Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 112, and the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park with a Beyer of 109. But he finished 14th in the Kentucky Derby and faded to eighth in his most recent start, the Belmont Stakes on June 9.

According to the track's racing office, other possibilities for the Pennsylvania Derby include Outofthebox, runner-up in both the Fountain of Youth and the Florida Derby, and Touch Tone, who came close to upsetting Point Given in last weekend's Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park.

- Joe DeVivo

Canterbury Park

SHAKOPEE, Minn. - The Minnesota Thoroughbred Association will conduct a sale of horses of all ages immediately following the races on Saturday. Seventy-eight hips are listed in the sales catalog in addition to an unspecified number of supplemental entries.

A public viewing of the horses in the auction will be held on Saturday morning from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. in an area adjoining the paddock. One of Minnesota's leading breeders, Kissoon Thoroughbreds, has a number of mares and foals consigned, including stakes winner Sarasa and multiple stakes-placed Shitala.

Art and Gretchen Eaton are also represented with a half-sister to Minnesota Champion Dot's Moment and Hy Senorita, who made an impressive racing debut this meet.

- David M. Miller

Charles Town

Two of Charles Town's top five jockeys are expected to be sidelined for at least a month with injuries sustained during recent races.

James Vail suffered a dislocated elbow when his mount broke down after the seventh race July 29. Four days later, Mark Rosenthal suffered a separated shoulder when the horse he was riding in the fifth race stumbled and fell on the clubhouse turn.

Coming into August, Vail ranked as the track's third-leading rider with 85 wins and Rosenthal was fourth with 77.

Confucius Say and Coolmars are among 10 horses entered for Saturday's $40,000 Frank Gall Memorial Stakes, a seven-furlong race for West Virginia-breds.

Both horses are considered early favorites for the West Virginia Breeders' Classic on Oct. 13.

Confucius Say, a two-time stakes winner here this year, finished third in the $200,000 Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs in his most recent start July 14. Coolmars, the defending Classic champion, rallied to win a seven-furlong allowance race in his only start of the year June 29.

- Joe DeVivo

Columbus

Columbus, Neb. - Rider Dan Beck suffered bruised ribs Sunday when his mount Zoucha Nutcracker acted up in gate while loading for the seventh race. He took off the final two races of the day but was scheduled to ride again this weekend.

Friday night racing continues to be a hit. The second Friday night of the meet brought out 2,772 fans, up more than 600 from the same night a year ago. It was also an increase over the opening-night card when 2,670 turned out.

Jerry Carkeek posted six wins over the weekend and leads the rider standings with 11 victories. Beck, Don Herber, and Armando Martinez are tied for second with seven wins each.

- Bill Hodtwalker

Fairmount

Darvin Herndon died last Saturday night at his home in Macon, Mo., after a lengthy battle with cancer. Herndon was well known at Fairmount Park where he worked for more than 30 years as a jockey's valet. Before that he had been an owner-trainer. A memorial service was held Wednesday at Carney's Funeral Home in Macon. Herndon's wife, Shirley, plans to have the body cremated and scatter the ashes at Fairmount on what would have been his 75th birthday, Sept. 20.

Jockey Mike Gale had four winners Saturday night. He won the third with Doc's Sweetie ($4), the fourth with Tree Foilage ($4.60), the sixth aboard Mancari ($3.40), and the 10th with Flash Jet ($4.20).

- Rod Peck

Great Lakes Downs

MUSKEGON, Mich. - Jockey Freddie Mata returned to action Sunday at Great Lakes Downs after a six week-recuperation period for broken toes suffered in a freak paddock accident. He won with his second mount of the evening, Lulu's Lil Sister ($3). But in the next race, Mata's mount, Daffodil, stumbled at the start and pitched Mata to the ground. Mata was unhurt and rode out the card.

Terry Houghton maintains a firm hold in the jockey standings with 136 wins. Houghton had 12 winners last week, including a four-bagger on Sunday. He has averaged just over nine winners per five-day week for the meeting.

Mary Doser, the 1999 riding champion, is in second place with 61 wins.

Jockey Al Jawny has returned to Great Lakes Downs after a riding stint on the West Coast.

- C.A. Shoemaker

Lone Star Park

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Lone Star Park will offer 28 stakes worth $2.9 million when it opens for 33 nights of Quarter Horse racing on Sept. 20. The meet will run on a Thursday through Saturday basis through Dec. 1, and daily purses will average $145,000.

The richest race of the meet is the $1 million-estimated Texas Classic Futurity, a 400-yard race to be run Dec. 1. The Texas Classic is one of four Grade 1 Quarter Horses races to be run this season at Lone Star.

- Mary Rampellini

Louisiana Downs

Jockey Kirk LeBlanc's early arrival before this meeting began has paid big dividends as he has been awarded jockey of the month honors for July and holds a commanding lead in the standings.

LeBlanc won 35 races last month, including a win with Midge Too in the Suthern Accent Stakes on July 14. LeBlanc has extended his success to this month, as he picked up a three-bagger on Monday to bring his meet total to 45 wins. David Guillory is second in the standings with 19 victories.

LeBlanc captured his first career win in 1985 and finished second in the standings last season with 80 victories and over $1 million in earnings.

- Jeff Taylor

Penn National

Sir Echo, a 10-year-old gelding making his second start within seven days, nearly stole last Friday's 29th running of the Pennsylvania Governor's Cup at Penn National. Buenos Dias, however, came along in time to foil the plan.

Buenos Dias, a 7-year-old gelding who was winless in eight starts dating to May 2000, caught Sir Echo inside the sixteenth pole and drew clear for a 1 1/4-length victory in the track's richest race of the meet.

Sir Echo, second in the Governor's Cup two years ago at 33-1, loped along on an uncontested lead in the 1 1/16-mile turf race and was still in front by two lengths entering the stretch when Buenos Dias ($13.20), ridden by Harry Vega, mounted his successful rally. Sir Echo, a 16-1 longshot, completed a $235 exacta.

- Joe DeVivo

Yavapai Downs

Three stakes were held last weekend at the inaugural meet at Yavapai Downs in Prescott Valley, Ariz.

Cartel Charley posted a narrow win over Rocket Effort in Saturday's $46,620 MBNA Racing Challenge. Cartel Charley, with Kenny Hart in the saddle, covered the 350 yards in 17.84 seconds.

The $10,000 Mile High Handicap at 1 1/16 miles was won by Vaclav, who completed the distance in 1:47.90. He was ridden by Scott Stevens, who had three wins on Saturday's card.

On Sunday, Yavapai Downs hosted the $10,000 Both Breeds Handicap for Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds at 870 yards. Sedum Red finished first, but was disqualified and placed second for impeding runner-up Special Star Bright in deep stretch.

- Karen M. Johnson