06/18/2010 12:00AM

Dupuy making the most of one-horse stable

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - In all but the most elite barns filled with stakes runners, a horse of the quality of Strike Impact, a 13-time winner with earnings of more than $339,000, might be referred to as "the big horse."

Longtime Churchill Downs trainer Pat Dupuy calls him something else.

"He's the only horse," he quipped.

But if a trainer is going to have a one-horse stable, Strike Impact is the type to have. A $25,000 claim last summer by owner Chet Miller, the horse has risen under Dupuy to become a top-level optional claiming performer.

In two starts this meet, he won an optional claimer May 14, leading from start to finish, and returned May 30 to finish second behind Inca King in a similar high-priced optional claimer.

Although Strike Impact is facing nine quality rivals in Sunday's featured ninth race, a third-level allowance with an $80,000 claiming condition, Inca King is not among them.

That aids Strike Impact's chances, though Dupuy said he was kind of hoping Inca King would have been among the entries.

"Then I might have had two horses for the Claiming Crown," he said, noting that he and Porter had discussed claiming Inca King if the horse raced again for another $80,000 tag.

As for the Claiming Crown, that is the summer goal for Strike Impact, provided he performs well Sunday.

Strike Impact is eligible to two of the Claiming Crown stakes races that will be run at Canterbury Park on July 24: the $100,000 Emerald at 1 1/16 miles on turf and the $150,000 Jewel at 1 1/8 miles on dirt. The former race is restricted to horses who have started for a claiming price of $25,000 or less in 2009-2010, and the latter to those who have run for $35,000 or less over the same period.

Although Dupuy does not have to decide until next month which race to pursue, his initial preference would be to try the Jewel.

"We'll probably duck Inca King," who is being pointed to the Emerald, he said.

Dupuy is married to Jennie Rees, turf writer for the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Inca King eyeing Firecracker

Inca King remains on target for the Claiming Crown Emerald, trainer Mike Maker said Friday. Maker had hoped to run him this past Wednesday in the $75,000 Golden Bear Stakes at Indiana Downs but scratched the 6-year-old when the race was taken off the turf and moved to the main track.

Inca King, a graded stakes winner at 3 who dipped all the way to the $25,000 claiming ranks last winter in Florida, is perfect in five starts this year.

The Grade 2, $175,000 Firecracker on closing day, July 4, is an option for his next race, or he may simply train up to the Emerald. Maker said he has three to four other horses under consideration for other Claiming Crown races.

Romans wins 500th at Churchill

Dale Romans became the second trainer to train 500 winners at this historic oval when Skipadate won the eighth race Thursday under a ground-saving ride from Fransisco Torres.

"That's a lot of races," Romans said Friday morning. "Hopefully, I'll win 500 more."

Only Bill Mott has won more races at Churchill, with his running total at 631.

"I don't think he's gonna quit winning," Romans said of his prospects of catching Mott, who maintains a modest-sized string of horses at Churchill. "That's good company to be in."

Romans, a 43-year-old Louisville native, won his first race at Churchill on Nov. 12, 1987, with Final Destroyer. He has won five training titles at the track outright and has shared in three others.

Horse runs through clubhouse

Morning training took an odd turn at Churchill on Thursday when a 2-year-old filly named B F Chang flipped over the track's outer rail into the track's box-seating area before running loose through the clubhouse.

The filly had been standing on the track in front of the stands before turning around suddenly and flipping over the rail.

Outrider Greg Blasi had to dismount from his pony to retrieve the inexperienced filly who has raced once previously, finishing second in a maiden $50,000 claiming race May 30.

Michelle Nevin, the Kentucky-based assistant to Rick Dutrow, who trains B F Chang, said Friday morning that the filly was in stable condition at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington after treatment for cuts suffered during the incident.

"It came as such a shock; she had never put a foot wrong before," she said.

The filly's exercise rider, Marelio Garcia, appeared to escape injury after falling to the dirt.