06/15/2006 11:00PM

Lawyer Ron to resume training with eye on September return

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Lawyer Ron, the millionaire colt who underwent minor surgery following a 12th-place finish in the May 6 Kentucky Derby, returned Friday morning to the Churchill Downs barn of Bob Holthus after being turned out for several weeks and is scheduled to return to light training Monday or Tuesday, said Holthus.

Lawyer Ron was given a clean bill of health Tuesday by veterinarian Larry Bramlage, who removed a small chip from the colt's right hind ankle nearly two weeks after the Derby. After spending about two weeks at Churchill, Lawyer Ron was turned out for several weeks on the grounds of his majority owner, Stonewall Farm, located near Lexington, Ky.

"We brought him in this morning and had him shod," Holthus said Friday. "He'll go around the shed row under tack the next couple mornings, then we'll bring him back to the track for some light jogging early in the week."

Lawyer Ron won six straight races, including a sweep of the Oaklawn Park series of races for 3-year-olds, leading up to the Derby. Holthus said he has no particular comeback race in mind but did mention the Super Derby or the Kentucky Cup Classic, both in September, as worthy goals.

"I'd like to get him back ready to run by the first of September," he said.

Bushfire may try Test

Bushfire, the gritty winner of the Grade 1 Acorn Stakes on the Belmont Stakes undercard last Saturday, may bypass the July 1 Mother Goose Stakes in favor of turning back to seven furlongs in the Aug. 5 Test Stakes at Saratoga, said trainer Eddie Kenneally.

"She's never won at less than a mile, but she has plenty of speed, and obviously you're going to need to be a pretty quick filly if you're going to run in the Test," said Kenneally. "She's doing super, but we need to give her a little chance to get ready for the next one, because she had a hard race" in the Acorn.

Meanwhile, Ermine, who was fifth in the Acorn, might race next in the July 1 Iowa Oaks at Prairie Meadows, said trainer Ronny Werner.

"Normally I give her four or five weeks after a race, but she wasn't even tired after the Acorn," he said.

Kentucky ties for Venezia finalists

Two of the three jockeys nominated for the 2006 Mike Venezia Memorial Award, Calvin Borel and Mark Guidry, are veterans who have made Kentucky their primary circuit.

Borel, 39, and Guidry, 46, both are Louisiana natives who have won more than 4,000 races each. The third nominee for the Venezia Award is Edgar Prado, the New York-based standout who won the Kentucky Derby this year aboard Barbaro.

Voting for the Venezia Award is conducted online at nyra.com and runs through June 28.

Troilo solid in return

Jockey Bill Troilo had a productive couple of days when he returned this week from a layoff of nearly six months. Troilo, 45, was aboard 61-1 shot Golden Voice in a second-place finish Wednesday, and then he won the third race Thursday when he came from well behind on Westwind Brewing.

Troilo had been sidelined since mid-January after undergoing knee surgery to correct a problem that was causing acute pain in his legs and lower back.

"I feel better than I have in years," he said.

Dirty Rush's race days near the end

Dirty Rush won a five-furlong turf allowance here Wednesday over Golden Voice, but don't look for the 3-year-old filly to have many more starts: She already is in foal, having been bred about a month ago to first-year sire Purge.

Trainer Ian Wilkes said Dirty Rush, bred and owned by Kirt Cahill, may race once or twice more before being retired.

* Trainer Todd Pletcher withheld Master Command from the Stephen Foster Handicap on Saturday with the thought of running the colt in the Grade 2 Cornhusker Breeders' Cup Handicap, to be run July 1 at Prairie Meadows. Pletcher entered West Virginia instead of Master Command in the Foster.

* Elite Mercedes still has it. The 9-year-old gray gelding won again Thursday at Churchill, making it three wins in a row. A one-time Kentucky Derby prospect in the early months of 2000, Elite Mercedes now has won 11 races from 38 starts. His latest victory, which was against $30,000 claiming rivals, came for trainer Sonny Wigginton and boosted his career bankroll over $500,000.