10/12/2006 11:00PM

Kingship faces biggest test in Bryan Station


For an ungraded race, the $150,000 Bryan Station Stakes came up a little salty, horsemen might say. Not only did it attract the winners of the Grade 2 American Derby (Union Avenue) and the Grade 3 Arlington Classic (Kingship), it also attracted a winner of five straight races in New York (Gimme Credit) and a speedy colt who ran second behind Showing Up in the $1 million Colonial Turf Cup (Kip Deville).

"It looks tough, but we're going to see what we can get done in there," said Ronny Werner, trainer of Kingship, a King Cugat colt who earned a 100 Beyer Speed Figure when he won a small stakes last month at Louisiana Downs.

Werner readily concedes that Kingship faces his toughest task to date in the Bryan Station, a one-mile turf race that goes as the eighth of nine Sunday races at Keeneland, but he said he was "very proud" of Kingship's recent 3 3/4-length win in the Donnie Wilhite Memorial on Sept. 23, which was his first start in two months.

"Off a little layoff, I thought he ran big," he said. "And I like the way he's trained into this."

Kingship effectively gets a rematch with Union Avenue, who soundly defeated him in the American Derby at Arlington Park in July. Union Avenue is part of an uncoupled entry for trainer Bill Mott in the field of nine 3-year-olds, along with Titled.

Gimme Credit is the unknown quantity. A New York-bred trained by Tim Hills, who makes infrequent forays from his East Coast base, Gimme Credit will be putting his five-race win streak on the line. Four of the wins have come in statebred company, but he also won against open company in the Aug. 25 Equalize at Saratoga.

Kip Deville, shipping in from Aqueduct for trainer Rick Dutrow, has yet to run back to his effort in the Colonial Turf Cup, in which he held second behind Showing Up after running off to a 15-length lead.

One of the late runners is Storm Treasure, who came from last to finish within a half-length of Gimme Credit in the Equalize.

"He seems to run his race every time," said Scott Blasi, trainer of Storm Treasure. "We got to running him pretty close together there for a while, but since we started spacing out his races a little more, he's been pretty consistent."

The Bryan Station anchors a Sunday card that also includes three allowances (races 6, 7, and 9). First post is 1:15 p.m. Eastern.