09/15/2004 11:00PM

Hollendorfer may send a string

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FLORENCE, Ky. - For a Cleveland guy who long ago became a racing legend in northern California, Jerry Hollendorfer sure does have a thing for Kentucky.

More specifically, Hollendorfer adores Turfway Park, where he won the track's premier event, the Lane's End Stakes, with Event of the Year (1998) and Globalize (2000). In fact, Hollendorfer is so enamored with Kentucky that he probably will send a sizable string of horses to Turfway to compete here from late November to early April.

Hollendorfer still makes northern California his primary base but has been winning races at a high percentage this summer with a string of cheaper horses at Thistledown in Cleveland.

"I'm still not quite sure what the plans are, and I want to analyze my stock to see if they're good enough to compete at Turfway," Hollendorfer said Thursday from the Keeneland yearling sale. "The winter conditions are tough here, but I honestly want to do more in Kentucky because it is the center of the horse racing universe. I've been fortunate to do well here before, and I do like to think positive. Being here makes me think positive."

Hollendorfer will be here Saturday to run Adreamisborn in the Kentucky Cup Classic and Hippogator in the Turfway Breeders' Cup. Russell Baze, the Hall of Fame jockey who rides regularly for Hollendorfer out West, will be in to ride both horses.

Bonus money keeps some home

Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund bonuses totaling $150,000 make up a huge chunk of the $350,000 purse for the Kentucky Cup Classic. It doesn't make much sense for someone with a horse not eligible for bonus funds to race for a mere $200,000 against horses competing for $350,000, and that's one valid reason that West Point Thoroughbreds chose not to send its Argentina-bred Seattle Fitz here for the Classic.

The flip side to the lopsided Classic purse is that there no longer are any KTDF funds for the other four Kentucky Cup races, meaning the monetary playing field is even for all.

Eyes on new surface

Well before Keeneland unveiled its new and potentially revolutionary training surface of synthetic material to the public Monday, management at Turfway had been keenly aware of its existence.

"We're going to keep a very close eye on how Keeneland does with it," said Turfway's president, Bob Elliston. "It very well could be something that we might want to use in the future."

One purported advantage to the synthetic surface, which Keeneland has laid on its five-furlong training track, is that it is largely impervious to the kind of harsh weather conditions that perennially plague Turfway each winter.

No shortage of competition for fans

This is just a partial list of the entertainment options that people in the Cincinnati area have the next few days: the annual Octoberfest, which typically draws about 500,000 people; retirement ceremonies for the immensely popular Joe Nuxhall at the Reds game on Saturday; the Bengals host the Miami Dolphins on Sunday night; the Kentucky 150 auto race on Saturday at Jerry Carroll's Kentucky Speedway; two major concerts this week; and the usual array of high school and college football, and riverboat casinos.

* Annual awards presented by the Kentucky Thoroughbred Media will be made between races here Saturday to the connections of Perfect Drift, who won the Boston Harbor Award for top male horse in Kentucky in 2003, and Take Charge Lady, who won the Morris Code Award for top female horse for an unprecedented third straight year.

* When jockey R.A. "Cowboy" Jones won a race here Wednesday, it was a real rarity. As he has gotten older, Jones, 61, usually rides only at Ellis Park each summer. Wednesday's victory was his first non-Ellis win since the 2001 Kentucky Downs meet, and before that it had been another several years since he had won elsewhere.

Jones won the third race by a nose aboard Awtair for owner-trainer Justin Johns.