04/07/2003 11:00PM

Ivanavinalot banged up - shall return

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Devastated.

That was the word trainer Kathleen O'Connell used to describe her feelings following Saturday's Grade 1 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland. In that race, the O'Connell-trained Ivanavinalot nearly got knocked to the ground leaving the gate. Ivanavinalot was virtually eased at the finish by jockey Mark Guidry.

Ivanavinalot was slammed by Elloluv, ridden by Robby Albarado, and steadied sharply at the start of the Ashland. Ivanavinalot rushed four wide into the clubhouse turn once she recovered, and never got into the race.

"She got lambasted on both sides and completely wiped out at the start, grabbed a quarter and never had a chance," said O'Connell. "Mark pretty much just galloped her around there after that because he didn't know if there was anything seriously wrong or not. I know it's racing luck and Robby did all he could to pull Elloluv off her, but to go all the way out there and have something like that happen right at the break is extremely disappointing, to say the least."

O'Connell said she will wait and see how Ivanavinalot's injury heals before deciding whether to take her filly to Churchill Downs for the May 2 Kentucky Oaks.

"The good thing is she'll live to fight another battle," said O'Connell. "Other than the grabbed quarter she came out of the race fine and was dragging her handlers getting on the plane. But you never know how those things will heal - and, besides, she didn't get anything out of the race, so at the moment I'd say the Oaks is very much up in the air."

Bowman's Band to Skip Away?

Trainer Michael Matz is considering the Grade 3 Skip Away Handicap on April 20 for Bowman's Band's next start.

Bowman's Band finished second in five graded races last year, including the Grade 1 Oaklawn Handicap. He launched his 2003 campaign by finishing second behind Generous Rosi in an allowance race here on March 1.

"He worked on Friday, is doing real well, and is ready to go," said Matz. "I'm not exactly sure what I'll do with him next, although I'm considering the Skip Away. I might even try him on the turf. There's also a race coming up on the grass for him at Keeneland."

The Skip Away, the last graded stakes race on the Gulfstream Park calendar, could come up a good one. Among the others being considered for the race are Best of the Rest, Consistency, and Changeintheweather.

Changeintheweather worked an easy five furlongs in 1:03.80 here Sunday. He won a third-level allowance race by nearly five lengths on Feb. 15 in his first start since late June and first for trainer Graham Motion.

"He beat Aeneas in his last start and that one came back to be second in the Gulfstream Park Handicap," said Motion. "Right now I'm on the fence about his next start. It could be the Skip Away, the Ben Ali at Keeneland, or the Baltimore Breeders' Cup Handicap at Pimlico."

Twilight racing begins Friday

First post for the next two Fridays at Gulfstream Park is 3 p.m.

"With the strength of the early afternoon Keeneland and Aqueduct programs and the high caliber of racing at Santa Anita later in the day, we think the 3 p.m. post will enable our fans to fill a niche between those cards," said Gulfstream president Scott Savin. "The idea is to maximize the focus on the Gulfstream product. I'm eager to see how our fans respond."