09/14/2006 12:00AM

Junior College tests surface


Junior College went back-to-back by winning the Don Bernhardt and Governor's handicaps at the recently ended meet at Ellis Park. Now the 4-year-old gelding will try to get his trainer back-to-back stakes wins to start the Turfway Park fall meet.

Junior College looks like the logical horse to beat Saturday in the $75,000 Marfa Stakes at Turfway, the Florence, Ky., track where trainer Tony Reinstedler has already won the first stakes, the Turfway Park Fall Championship, with Gouldings Green. Junior College will be making his first start over the synthetic Polytrack surface.

"We're planning on trying him over the Poly at Keeneland," where a new Polytrack surface was recently installed, "so we figured we might as well run him up there at Turfway first," said Reinstedler.

Reinstedler shipped Junior College from his Churchill Downs base to work out Thursday morning at Turfway, where the gelding breezed an easy three furlongs in 38 seconds.

"He went real well, and I like how this race sets up for him," said Reinstedler.

Acknowledging that Junior College will be turning back from a mile to 6 1/2 furlongs Saturday while also switching surfaces, Reinstedler said he is hoping the gelding's versatility and consistency will come into play.

"He's the type of horse you can put him anywhere you want," he said.

Besides Junior College, who will be ridden by Jesus Castanon and break from the outside post in a field of 10, the Marfa field also drew Caller One, the 9-year-old gelding whose $3.2 million bankroll was built largely with Dubai funds. Caller One won the Grade 1 Golden Shaheen as a 4- and 5-year-old.

Other contenders in the Marfa, which is named for the winner of the 1983 Jim Beam Stakes, include Man of Illusion, a Patrick Biancone-trained horse who has raced exclusively on turf; Smalltown Slew, who brings in some of the best Beyer Speed Figures of the group; and Level Playingfield, the stretch-running sprinter who went last to first in winning the Marfa last year in his only attempt over Polytrack.

Ten Turfway races will be interspersed Saturday with four from Kentucky Downs, making for a 14-race card. First post is 1:10 p.m. Eastern.

* Reinstedler said that Shermanesque, scratched as the morning-line favorite from the Arlington-Washington Futurity because of an off track last weekend, will make his next start in the Sept. 30 Kentucky Cup Juvenile. Sherman-esque was second to Circular Quay in July in the Bashford Manor at Churchill Downs.