11/07/2007 12:00AM

Istan's next start a matter of debate

EmailLOUISVILLE, Ky. - The sensational performance by Istan in the Ack Ack Handicap last Saturday at Churchill Downs has left his connections torn as to whether to stretch him out in the Clark Handicap or return him to New York for the Cigar Mile.

Istan, owned by the Darpat S. L. Stables and trained by Bill Mott, earned a 111 Beyer Speed Figure in winning the one-mile Ack Ack by 8o3/4 lengths under Kent Desormeaux. A 5-year-old horse by Gone West, Istan has won five stakes from 10 overall starts this year, with all but one of his races coming at distances between seven furlongs and a mile.

There are pros and cons to both upcoming races. The Nov. 23 Clark Handicap is worth $500,000 and is a Grade 2. The Nov. 24 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct has a lower purse, $300,000, but is a Grade 1.

The Clark is run at 1 1/8 miles, which may test Istan's ability to get a distance, but if he runs in the Cigar Mile, he could face Midnight Lute, the red-hot Breeders' Cup Sprint champion who is likely to run in the race.

"Bill's initial thought was the horse was more of a miler," said Kenny McCarthy, who in recent months has helped oversee the training of Istan at Churchill for Mott, who is based primarily in New York. "But the way he ran Saturday, Kent and I both think the distance of the Clark shouldn't be a problem.

"That's one of the things Bill is thinking over. We're going to look into how both races shape up before a decision is made."

Cool Coal Man's next also undecided

Trainer Nick Zito also is torn between Kentucky and New York in regard to the next start for Cool Coal Man, an impressive winner here Saturday in a 1 1/16-mile allowance for 2-year-olds. Zito is considering the $250,000 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill or the $200,000 Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct. Both are Grade 2 races set for Nov. 24.

The 2 1/4-length victory (and 90 Beyer) by Cool Coal Man, owned by Robert LaPenta, demonstrated that the Mineshaft colt "loved the track," Zito said. "I couldn't believe the way he went over it."

Still, Zito said he already has committed another 2-year-old, Anak Nakal, to the KJC Stakes, so it may make sense to keep them separated and go for the Remsen with Cool Coal Man. Anak Nakal, owned by Four Roses Thoroughbreds, finished second in the Nashua at Aqueduct in his last start.

Meanwhile, Zito has his Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner, War Pass, stabled at Churchill, from where the colt will ship to Florida by the end of the month. War Pass, also owned by LaPenta, is winding down before cranking back up next year for what Zito hopes is a start in the 134th Kentucky Derby.

"I might take him out this weekend and jog him around a little bit, let him take in the sights and see the twin spires," said Zito. "I am just letting him down now."

Mrs. Revere attracts 14

A full gate of 3-year-old fillies is ready to clash Saturday in the Gradeo2, $150,000 Mrs. Revere Stakes. The 14-horse field is headed by Bit of Whimsy, winner of the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup last month at Keeneland. Bit of Whimsy, with Javier Castellano to ride for trainer Barclay Tagg, drew post 3 in the 1 1/16-mile turf race. Other top contenders include Tensas Yucatan (post 1), Cat Charmer (11), and Costume (13).

Mark Guidry's final career mount will be Bel Air Beauty in the Mrs. Revere. Guidry, one of only 22 jockeys in North America to ride more than 5,000 winners, announced Tuesday that he is retiring from the saddle after an illustrious 32-year career.

The Sunday feature at Churchill is the male counterpart to the Mrs. Revere, the $150,000 Commonwealth Turf for 3-year-old colts and geldings at 1 1/16 miles on turf.

Storm Treasure doubles up

Storm Treasure, the Steve Asmussen-trained colt who raced primarily in stakes while going 1 for 18 to begin his career, notched his second straight victory in the Tuesday feature at Churchill, winning by 1 1/4 lengths under Shaun Bridgmohan.

Storm Treasure now has earned $402,700 after winning back-to-back allowances at Keeneland and Churchill. He returned $9.40 as second choice in a field of nine in the 1o1/16-mile turf race.

* Owner Carl Pollard has announced that Morner, a winner of five races and $262,046, has been retired after finishing seventh Sunday in the Very Subtle Stakes at Churchill. Morner, a 4-year-old filly trained by David Vance, won the 2006 Smart Deb at Arlington Park.

* During the Friday card at Churchill, Carl Nafzger will be presented with keys to the International truck that was awarded to the trainer of the Kentucky Derby winner this year. Nafzger will receive the vehicle in recognition of his win in the 133rd Derby with Street Sense on May 5.

* Churchill is hosting a Derby Collectors' promotion on Saturday and Sunday, with Derby memorabilia set for display. Fans are encouraged to bring their own Derby memorabilia to have it appraised.