04/06/2006 11:00PM

Invaders no lock

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Pat Lang Photography
Skeleton Crew wins the Hansel last month at Turfway Park. Final Copy finished second.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Among the innumerable variables that horseplayers encounter each spring at Keeneland is this: How will horses who have raced during the winter at Turfway Park match up with horses who migrated south?

That question will be extremely relevant late Sunday afternoon when four Turfway horses square off against two Florida shippers in the Keeneland feature, the $100,000 Lafayette Stakes.

In the vast majority of cases, spring stakes at Keeneland typically are won by horses who raced most recently at Gulfstream, Oaklawn, Santa Anita, or, in years past, Fair Grounds. But that maxim might not apply to the Lafayette.

Skeleton Crew and Final Copy, who finished just a neck apart as the respective one-two finishers in the March 25 Hansel Stakes over the Polytrack surface at Turfway, are among the deserving favorites in the six-furlong Lafayette. They are joined by two others who most recently raced at Turfway, Sharp Attack and Likely, along with the recent Florida arrivals, Beacon Shine and Laptop Computer.

, owned by Ed Anthony and trained by Pat Huffman, not only has raced exclusively over Polytrack, but also trains over the synthetic surface at the High Pointe Training Center. Anthony said after the Hansel that he has no illusions about Skeleton Crew joining the Kentucky Derby fray, but the gelding should be well suited to shorter races such as the Lafayette.

, a Donamire Farm homebred who in just nine starts already has developed into a reliable runner, was the 9-5 favorite when he came up just short of catching Skeleton Crew in the Hansel. Trainer Greg Foley is replacing Edgar Prado aboard Final Copy with John Velazquez.

The two other Turfway horses bring lesser credentials to the Lafayette. , winless since late September, finished eighth in the Lane's End Stakes later that afternoon.

Both Florida horses appear capable of denying their Turfway counterparts. Beacon Shine, trained by Nick Zito, won the Flash Stakes at 2 and more recently ran a decent fifth in the Swale at Gulfstream, while Laptop Computer, trained by Rick Violette, recently rebounded from a drubbing in the Sam Davis at Tampa Bay by romping in an entry-level allowance at Gulfstream.

The Lafayette, restricted to 2-year-olds until reconfigured in 1982, is the eighth of nine races on a Sunday card that also includes three allowances (races 5, 7, 9). First post is 1:15 p.m. Eastern.