04/08/2002 11:00PM

Explicit vs. Entepreneur, again

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HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Explicit and Entepreneur, the one-two finishers in the $150,000 Pelleteri Breeders' Cup Handicap last month at Fair Grounds, will swap post positions for the Grade 3, $150,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap at Oaklawn Park on Thursday. The reversal should suit both horses in the six-furlong Count Fleet, which also drew Sand Ridge, U.S. Jets, and Junior Deputy.

Entepreneur broke from the rail in the Pelleteri and dueled on the lead from the start before being overtaken by a stalking Explicit, who broke from post 5. For the Count Fleet, Explicit will break from the rail, and Entepreneur from post 5.

Explicit has the natural speed to take advantage of the rail draw, and should be prominent from the start. In fact, some his best races have come on the lead. "He'll go head to head with anybody," said trainer Ian Jory. "He'll get awfully tough on the lead."

Entepreneur should benefit from the outside draw, which gives him more options. One race before the Pelleteri he was content to stalk the pace in a money allowance, closing for second in that six-furlong race, beaten a neck by stakes winner Two Punch Sunny.

Entepreneur, who is trained by Dallas Stewart and will be ridden by Calvin Borel, is an improving horse and is the main threat to Explicit.

Lonnie Meche retains the mount on Explicit, the 116-pound highweight for the Count Fleet and the horse to beat. After being compromised by wet tracks in two starts this winter - one at Santa Anita and the other at Gulfstream Park - he put all the pieces together in the Pelleteri, driving to a 1 1/4-length win in the six-furlong race, which went in a quick 1:09.20.

"He's back to where he was last year," said Jory. "He's going to be very tough."

In spring 2001 Explicit won an optional claiming race at Gulfstream Park in wire-to-wire fashion, earning a 118 Beyer Speed Figure. In his next start, he finished second, beaten a neck by champion sprinter Kona Gold, in the Grade 2 Potrero Grande Breeders' Cup Handicap at Santa Anita. He has worked well since the Pelleteri at his Hollywood Park base.

Trainer Bob Holthus, who won the first two legs of Oaklawn's sprint series this meet with Kings Command, sends out a new shooter Thursday in U.S. Jets, who has finished a sharp second in each of his starts this season. He exits a one-mile race, and should be coming after the leaders late.

Junior Deputy, winner of the $60,000 Prairie Mile Stakes last May, and the venerable Sand Ridge, a winner of 11 of 36 starts, complete the field for the Count Fleet.

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