02/01/2007 1:00AM

Joe Got Even back to two turns in WEBN


Several roads are heavily traveled to the Kentucky Derby, but the one that meanders through Turfway Park can't honestly be counted among them.

Still, if there is a Turfway horse with viable credentials to eventually make it to the 133rd Derby, it is Joe Got Even, a colt who figures as the favorite when the track's first of three Derby preps, the $50,000 WEBN Stakes, is run at one mile Saturday in Florence, Ky.

Joe Got Even owns the pedigree and racing foundation to develop into a Derby prospect, but even his trainer, Phil Sims, acknowledges the colt must take his game to a higher level to deserve even a cursory mention among the upper echelon of the new 3-year-old class.

"He does have to improve," said Sims. "But I think he can, and I think he will. Obviously we're hoping that he'll get better with more distance."

Joe Got Even was sired by Stephen Got Even, a son of A.P. Indy, and that paternal bloodline is partly what gives Sims and the colt's owners, Joe Vaudo and Elizabeth Tobin, reason for cautious optimism. Although the colt finished fifth in his only two-turn attempt, the Nov. 25 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs, Sims believes that race was a good learning experience. "We got beat by some awfully nice horses that day," he said.

In his lone race since, the 6 1/2-furlong Turfway Prevue on Jan. 6, Joe Got Even made a big mid-race move before settling for second, a neck behind Carnacks Choice, who also is entered Saturday in the WEBN. Joe Got Even earned an 84 Beyer Speed Figure, marking his third straight race with a mid-80 Beyer. "If he kicks his Beyers up a few notches, he won't be far from the top," said Sims.

Miguel Mena will be aboard Joe Got Even (post 7), while Alonso Quinonez replaces Julien Leparoux on Carnacks Choice (post 3). Leparoux will ride at Santa Anita on Saturday and Sunday before returning to Turfway to ride Wednesday.

Besides Joe Got Even and Carnacks Choice, the WEBN drew nine other 3-year-olds, including the Paul McGee-trained entry of Cobrador and Marianas.

The WEBN goes as the 11th of 12 races on a Saturday card that also includes two allowances. The WEBN leads to the more important races for 3-year-olds at Turfway: the $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial on March 3, and the track's signature race, the $500,000 Lane's End Stakes on March 24.