03/13/2003 12:00AM

Horrible Evening tops $50,000 Tejano Run

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They never did run the Dust Commander Stakes at Turfway Park this winter. The $50,000 race was canceled because of weather on Feb. 15, and then the Feb. 23 makeup date was canceled, too.

The result has been a winter with few distance opportunities for an upper-class older horse. Saturday, that drought will end when six horses clash in the $50,000 Tejano Run Stakes, a 1 1/8-mile race that highlights a 12-race card at the Florence, Ky., track.

Horrible Evening, who was entered both times in the Dust Commander, figures as the favorite in the Tejano Run, which is named for the mid-1990's star who won the 1994 Kentucky Cup Juvenile at Turfway and finished second in the 1995 Kentucky Derby. Horrible Evening, trained by Niall O'Callaghan, has the kind of speed that generally has been faring well since the Turfway track was resurfaced March 6.

Horrible Evening, a 6-year-old New Jersey-bred gelding, is owned by Morton Fink and partners. From 24 lifetime tries, he has earned more than $272,000, with his latest race resulting in a third-place finish in the Louisiana Handicap at Fair Grounds in early January.

His main challenger probably is another horse who last raced at Fair Grounds: Deferred Comp, who was overmatched in the Whirlaway Handicap in early February. Trained by Tony Reinstedler, Deferred Comp was an impressive winner of a third-level allowance on Jan. 4 at Gulfstream Park in his previous start.

The others entered in the Tejano Run are Civilian, Hail to Wild Again, Mail Call, and Talk's Cheap.

Lion Tamer, Champali eye Lane's End

Next Saturday is the biggest day of the year at Turfway. The $500,000 Lane's End Stakes, the Grade 2 race that typically produces a starter or two for the Kentucky Derby, will highlight a 12-race card that also includes four other stakes. First post will be noon Eastern.

At least five horses have committed to the 1 1/8-mile Lane's End, with the probable favorites being

Lion Tamer and Champali. Other prospects are Eugene's Third Son, Saintly Look, and Lots of Sizzle.

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