09/02/2003 12:00AM

Family bragging rights on the line


Foley versus Foley long has been a familiar storyline in Kentucky racing. Whether a race pits dad against daughter, or dad against son, or sister against brother, the competition is friendly but fierce, with the winner able to claim temporary bragging rights within the family.

Another intra-family squabble surfaces Thursday night at Turfway Park in Florence, Ky., where Dravo Foley will run two 2-year-olds against one trained by his son, Greg, in the featured ninth race, a $26,800 allowance at 5 1/2 furlongs. Dravo has the uncoupled duo of J.D. Cat and Rayvo's Beau, while Greg counters with Pass Play.

By his own count, Dravo Foley, 69, has trained 14 stakes winners, many of them raised just east of Louisville at the Skylight Training Center, which he built in the 1970's. Foley once rubbed shoulders with some of the biggest names in racing - his partner in Skylight was Jack Van Berg, he sold Taylor's Special to a client of Bill Mott's, and he recalls when Frank Brothers was grooming horses at Skylight - but easily his proudest feats are what his oldest daughter, Vickie, and Greg have accomplished as trainers.

"I'm proud of Vickie and Greg," said Foley. "They both do a fine job. I don't mind saying that I believe they both had a pretty good teacher."

Thursday, when the teacher tries to beat the student, "I like my chances," said Foley. "I've already beaten Greg's horse twice with J.D. Cat."

If none of the Foley horses is to prevail, the most likely winner is Freedom Counts, trained by Randy Morse.

Good news and bad in Cradle

After sending out the first two finishers Monday in the Cradle Stakes at neighboring River Downs, trainer Elliott Walden said the joy of winning for one owner was partly offset by his disappointment for the other.

"Whenever you run one-two for different owners, it makes it a little tough, because whoever runs second thinks they could've won if you didn't have the other horse in there," said Walden.

Tiger Hunt, owned by Team Valor, overtook Lightnin N Thunder, owned by WinStar Farm, to win the Cradle by 1 1/4 lengths. Walden said Lightnin N Thunder may run next in the Sept. 27 Arlington-Washington Futurity, one week before Tiger Hunt goes in the Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland.

WinStar did get one measure of consolation in the Cradle: the farm bred Tiger Hunt.