05/17/2007 11:00PM

Lemons Forever headed for grass


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The 2006 Kentucky Oaks winner, Lemons Forever, appears ready for a switch in racing surfaces.

Thursday she breezed five furlongs in a bullet 1:01 around the dogs over a good Churchill Downs turf course, and afterward trainer Dallas Stewart said he would like to run Lemons Forever next in an allowance or stakes race on grass.

"She worked great," Stewart said of the filly's first breeze on turf. "The exercise boy that worked her didn't really move on her. She really got over the ground and didn't pick her feet up very high. She looks like a natural on the turf."

Lemons Forever, a 4-year-old daughter of Lemon Drop Kid, is winless in seven starts since her upset in the Kentucky Oaks last year at 47-1. A winner of 3 of 13 races and $605,127, she comes off a sixth-place finish over a sloppy track in the Louisville Breeders' Cup May 4.

"We haven't had much luck," Stewart said. "With a muddy track last time, it was tough to evaluate. But she's doing good and her works have been good."

Horsemen table ticket issue

In a meeting Tuesday, Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association members took no action regarding the issue of whether some horsemen were charged for tickets by Churchill Downs on Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby days that contractually should have been free. The horsemen's group plans to research the matter further, said its executive director, Marty Maline said.

An agreement between Churchill Downs and the horsemen's group states that owners and trainers running a horse on either of those two days are entitled to two free "walk-around" tickets apiece, Maline said.

Although the agreement has been in place for approximately 20 years, many horsemen have been unaware of it and have regularly paid for tickets.

The track's vice president of racing, Donnie Richardson, said no refunds have been issued, but declined further comment, referring questions to Churchill Downs's president, Steve Sexton. Sexton did not return a phone message left with his assistant Friday.

Maline said it would have been difficult for the horsemen's association to notify every owner and trainer running horses on those days of the ticket rules. He noted that the horsemen's agreement with Churchill Downs is available for horsemen to view.

Maline said some members of the horsemen's board feel Churchill Downs has been fair in their handling of Derby and Oaks tickets, pointing out that the number of "pay" tickets issued by Churchill Downs to horsemen typically exceeds the 300 tickets that is called for in their agreement.

Keeneland surface gets coat of wax

The Keeneland training track, which became the first track in North America to install a Polytrack surface in September of 2004, was rewaxed earlier this month, horsemen there said. The rewaxing follows changes made to the Polytrack at Turfway Park, and planned revisions of Woodbine's Polytrack surface.

Trainer Rusty Arnold said he is pleased with the changes.

"It's back to where it was," he said.

Bejarano closes in

Jockey Rafael Bejarano won three races at Churchill Downs Thursday, including the featured eighth race aboard Karelian, to close the gap on Julien Leparoux in the jockey standings.

Leparoux, who won a race Thursday, held a 20-18 win advantage over Bejarano entering Friday's late-afternoon race card. Calvin Borel (17 wins) and Robby Albarado (15 wins) were third and fourth.