03/14/2003 12:00AM

Great Notion staying put for Rebel run


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Great Notion, who was added as a separate betting interest in Pool 2 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager after his nine-length win in the $75,000 Southwest at Oaklawn Park, will make his next start in Oaklawn's $125,000 Rebel on March 22.

Great Notion had also been under consideration for the Grade 2, $500,000 Lane's End at Turfway the same day, but his connections have decided to stay home. "We're going to follow the Arkansas Derby trail," said Darrin Miller, who trains Great Notion for Silverton Farms.

Miller said there were a couple of factors that went into the decision to point for the Rebel.

"He had a little bit of bruising in the feet after the last race, and so we wanted to take care of that, and the ship up and back would have a been a little bit tough for him," said Miller.

Blinker switch helps Slider

Slider, who for his last start went from wearing blinkers with a French cup to a larger, three-quarter cup, responded with a six-length win in an Oaklawn allowance, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 108 and a trip to Oaklawn's Grade 3, $100,000 Razorback on Sunday.

"Some of his races before, we felt like when he made the lead early, he was looking at the grandstand and outriders and everything else," said Joe Woodard, who trains Slider for Billy Hays.

"These blinkers seemed to have helped him a little bit. We felt like this helps him concentrate," said Woodard, adding that the blinkers give Slider "a little more tunnel vision, because he does like to sightsee sometimes."

After his big allowance win Feb. 22, Slider missed a few days of training because a cut he got on his right front leg during the race became infected. "Going into the first turn, a horse dropped over on him, and he got nicked up pretty good," said Woodard.

"I have to give the barn crew credit. They've worked their butts off on him, and they did a good job. The leg is nice and tight right now, and mentally and physically the horse is doing great."

Woodard is having bloodwork done on Slider to make sure he will be 100 percent for the Razorback.

"As far as fitness, I think he's dead-ready to go," he said. "We two-minute-licked him this morning, and he went around nice and strong and full of run."

Cella out for a first

Crafty Shaw can give his owner, Charles Cella, the president of Oaklawn, his first stakes victory at the track with a win the Razorback. Cella was not able to race horses at Oaklawn until part of an Arkansas law that prohibited a franchise owner from racing at his own track was repealed in 1994.

That is one reason for the statistical oddity of Cella not winning a stakes at Oaklawn. The other is the fact that he has raced a good number of turf horses in the past, and there is no such course at Oaklawn.

Among his best was Northern Spur, champion turf horse in 1995.