07/26/2006 11:00PM

Greater Good off to fast start in new role

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For much of the past two years, Greater Good has been a route horse, and a late-running one at that. In some of his biggest victories, he won the Kentucky Cup Juvenile in 2004 after trailing by 19 lengths, the 2004 Kentucky Jockey Club after trailing by 10 lengths, and the 2005 Southwest after trailing by 11 lengths.

Apparently, he is starting to reinvent himself. Racing July 3 in a one-turn allowance at Churchill Downs, Greater Good showed surprising speed to take command a half-mile into the race before pulling away to a 2 1/4-length victory. He raced 7 1/2 furlongs in 1:27.97, establishing a track record for the distance.

Greater Good will try to put that newfound speed to work Saturday at Ellis Park in the $50,000 Don Bernhardt, a 6 1/2-furlong race in which he will face the likes of Monkey Hill and Just See James.

Besides being sharp, Greater Good is unquestionably the most accomplished horse in the field. A four-time stakes winner, he ran 13th behind Giacomo in last year's Kentucky Derby.

Although he is inexperienced as a sprinter, Greater Good has performed well in one-turn races. His first win came over the Ellis Park strip in August 2004, when he won going seven furlongs. John McKee rides for trainer Bob Holthus and owner Lewis Lakin.

Based on recent efforts, the fastest horse in the Don Bernhardt is Monkey Hill, a winner of three of four races this year. He has twice posted triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures in 2006, including in his last race June 22, when he upset Fifteen Rounds in an allowance at Arlington Park. That performance earned him a 101 Beyer.

Corey Lanerie has the mount on Monkey Hill, who will be making his first stakes start in the Don Bernhardt. A 5-year-old General Meeting horse, he breezed a bullet five furlongs in 58.60 seconds at Churchill Downs July 21 for trainer Tom Amoss.

One horse Greater Good probably won't have to face is Long Range Missile, an unbeaten sprinter who was entered but is likely to be scratched. The 5-2 morning line choice, Long Range Missile aggravated a tendon injury Thursday morning, owner Carrie Brogden said.

Cowboy Hardware, Halo's Tiger, Killenaule, and Junior College complete the field.