08/11/2005 12:00AM

Ellis: Pirates Bite has rail


Saturday invariably is a stakes day during the Ellis Park meet, but this Saturday provides a rare exception. In large part because the Henderson, Ky., track has set aside Aug. 20 as the richest stakes day in its history, the rather modest highlight on an 11-race card is an overnight handicap with a $29,750 purse.

The Vodika Collins, a one-mile turf race, may be a bit of an overachiever, having drawn the one-two finishers from the $75,000 Regaey Island. Pirates Bite, with Calvin Borel riding again for trainer Bob Holthus, drew the rail for the Vodika Collins, just as he did when leading throughout to post a 28-1 upset in the July 23 Regaey Island.

Slammin' Sam, the runner-up in that last race, will start right alongside Pirates Bite in post 2, with Jesus Castanon riding for trainer Elwood McCann.

Completing the field are Bridesman, Bruce on the Loose, Take a Shot, and Earths Vain Shadow.

The Aug. 20 card will consist of four stakes, led by the Grade 3, $150,000 Gardenia Handicap, the lone graded race of the meet.