03/18/2007 11:00PM

Forefathers would add serious speed


With a full field expected for the Lane's End Stakes on Saturday, the chances of Hard Spun getting away on an easy lead do not seem good - especially if one rival in particular is entered when Turfway Park draws the race Wednesday.

Forefathers, the speedy Gone West colt who was the beaten favorite earlier this month in the Hutcheson Stakes at Gulfstream Park, is under serious consideration for the Grade 2, $500,000 Lane's End, trainer Nick Zito said Monday. If Forefathers starts, the complexion of the Lane's End figures to change.

"I haven't made up my mind, but obviously we're not left with a lot of time or options," said Zito. "I'm going to talk it over with the owners [Zayat Stables], and we'll go from there. The bottom line is whether we want to stay on the Kentucky Derby trail, or go a different way."

Forefathers is fast enough that he led all the way in winning a six-furlong Calder allowance three starts back, then forced the pace in the 6 1/2-furlong Swale Stakes before settling for second behind Adore the Gold. He then was the 2-1 favorite in the Hutcheson but lost all chance with a poor break, finishing seventh.

With or without Forefathers, the favorite for the 1 1/8-mile Lane's End will surely be Hard Spun, the once-beaten colt who on Monday had his second straight bullet workout over the Polytrack surface at Turfway, breezing five furlongs in 1:00.60. Hard Spun, trained by Larry Jones, showed great speed in winning four starts to open his career, then incurred his first defeat when fourth as the 1-2 favorite in the Southwest at Oaklawn Park last month.

There is no shortage of prospects for the Lane's End, which drew 166 nominations.

Besides Hard Spun and Forefathers, other 3-year-olds under consideration are Approval Rating, Brainy Benny, Bullara, Catman Running, Chelokee, For You Reppo, Helios, Joe Got Even, Love Dubai, Pink Viper, Sedgefield, Sports Town, Starbase, and Twilight Meteor.

Trainer Todd Pletcher, who has started just four horses in the Lane's End and won with two of them - Balto Star in 2001 and Flower Alley in 2005 - will likely run Bullara and Twilight Meteor.

The Lane's End will be televised live on ESPN and is one of five stakes set for Saturday's card at Turfway. The others:

o The connections of several horses have said they will opt for the 1 1/16-mile $100,000 Rushaway if excluded from the Lane's End. Otherwise, as of Monday, the top names likely for the Rushaway were Passport, Skip Code, Meritocracy, and Dominican.

o Eight to 10 3-year-old fillies are likely for the one-mile $150,000 Bourbonette Breeders' Cup Stakes. Sealy Hill, Olivine, and Floral Park are the notable names.

o Stakes coordinator Randy Wehrman is expecting large fields for the two $50,000 sprint stakes on the undercard, with Awesome Hero the big name for the Hansel and Hot Storm heading up the Queen.