05/31/2004 11:00PM

Just call it stormy Sunday


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Tens of thousands of people in the Louisville metropolitan area will forever remember what they were doing on the afternoon of Sunday, May 30, and not necessarily because of anything good that happened.

Tornados and very strong winds pummeled the city and its outlying areas. The natural calamity inconvenienced racing fans by forcing the first partial cancellation of Churchill racing in nearly 14 years, but more importantly, it wreaked far greater havoc on the public at large, causing millions of dollars in property damage and at least one death.

Conversely, Vickie Foley's luck was so good Sunday that she still can scarcely believe it. Foley won half the four races run here Sunday - the third with Jules Best, a first-time starter who prevailed at 31-1, and the fourth and last with favored Olympic Emblem - while acutely aware that her fortune might not have occurred if not for the luck of the draw.

"I mean, I could've been in the fifth and sixth and never had the chance to run those two fillies," said Foley. "I said, 'Oh my gosh, how lucky am I to win two in a row?' My luck was so good I was thinking maybe when it ran out I'd get hit by a tornado on the way home."

In fact, as she approached her east Louisville home, funnel clouds were spotted in the vicinity, but no harm came her way. The experience left her looking forward to more good fortune.

"We'll look at the Debutante for Jules Best," she said. "She came to me a few weeks ago from Carl Bowling, and she was really ready to run. I couldn't believe she was such a big price, but maybe that's because there were some real nice fillies in against her."

Foley began doing serious business with Bowling about a year ago. It was Bowling, a prominent Florida breeder and pinhooker, who talked Foley into bringing her stable last winter to Gulfstream Park, where Foley had a productive meet.

"It's been a good year for us so far," she said. "Sunday was the craziest of all. It was exciting, to say the least."

Saturday card gains a stakes

Two stakes with Breeders' Cup bonus funds are on tap for Saturday, albeit one of them a carryover from the Sunday cancellation.

The $150,000 Dogwood Breeders' Cup, which drew eight 3-year-old fillies for when it was supposed to have been run on Sunday, will be redrawn Thursday and contested Saturday. Ender's Sister, who likely would have been the favorite with Pat Day riding, will stay in town but will need a new jockey, since Day will ride Royal Assault in the Belmont Stakes.

Ender's Sister had returned to trainer Rusty Arnold's main stable at Belmont after finishing second in the April 29 La Troienne Stakes. She currently is back at Churchill with Arnold's longtime assistant, Jack Bohannan.

Meanwhile, the originally scheduled feature, the $125,000 Kentucky Breeders' Cup, is expected to draw a short field of 2-year-olds, with Lunarpal likely to be a huge favorite in the 5 1/2-furlong race.

Lunarpal, trained by Steve Asmussen, was a handy winner of the Three Chimeys Juvenile on the Kentucky Derby undercard.

Churchill spokesman John Asher said one of the six races that were canceled here Sunday will be made up as part of an 11-race card Saturday, when the Belmont simulcast and the two live stakes figure to lure a large crowd. Churchill hopes to make up all six of the lost races by the end of the meet, July 4.

Bejarano takes lead

With Day in action at Belmont and Shane Sellers riding at Lone Star, jockey Rafael Bejarano took advantage of their absences here Monday.

Bejarano, who has been battling Day for the lead in the rider standings for most of the meet, won four races to take over the top spot. Bejarano won the fourth race with Hot Chipotle ($7.60), the sixth with Televangelist ($4.80), the eighth with Star of Atticus ($12), and the 10th with Wouldn't We All ($3.60).

Going into the Thursday card, Bejarano, who turns 22 later this month, had won 38 races, three more than Day.

Agony of defeat and counterpart

Trainer Bobby Barnett on Monday experienced most of the thrills and disappointments that racing can dole out in a single half-hour span.

Barnett watched in agony as Zuri Gold was beaten in the last jump by Count on the Tuna in the seventh race, then was on pins and needles again when his filly Star of Atticus desperately held off Shari's Gold Sole to win the eighth.

"One won by about the same margin the other lost by," said Barnett. "A whisker. That's about all the excitement a man can take in one day."

Pointing for the Claiming Crown

Two races with implications toward the July 17 Claiming Crown at Canterbury Park were run over the weekend at Churchill Downs, and another is scheduled for Friday.

Rough Draft, an easy winner here Friday, is being pointed to the $50,000 Claiming Crown Iron Horse at the Shakopee, Minn., track, while Quote Me Later and Cherokee Prospect, the respective one-two finishers in the second race Sunday, are likely for the $50,000 Claiming Crown Express.

A possible prep for the $150,000 Claiming Crown Jewel is in the Churchill condition book for Friday.

* The annual Out to Pasture Party, a fund-raiser for the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, will be held after the June 12 Stephen Foster card in the Triple Crown Room. Silent and live auctions will be held, with activities beginning at 7 p.m. Eastern. For more information, call (502) 636-4519.