09/08/2006 12:00AM

Leparoux, Biancone doing it their way


Julien Leparoux and Patrick Biancone keep breaking unwritten rules.

Leparoux, who loses his five-pound apprentice allowance on Sept. 25, has been performing at a level normally reserved for seasoned jockeys for months now. And Biancone, true to his French roots, is willing to occasionally buck American tradition, including running an unraced filly against males.

Leparoux, who will ride "almost every day" at the 22-day Turfway Park fall meet that began Wednesday, according to agent Steve Bass, continues to sail along atop the national jockey standings with 309 winners this year through Thursday. Leparoux recently returned from Saratoga, where his 28 wins this summer were the most by an apprentice in track history.

Meanwhile, his mentor, Biancone, has assimilated many of his best runners back into his large Turfway string. Thursday night, Biancone flouted convention when he ran Her Majesty, an unraced 2-year-old filly, against six male rivals. Off as the 3-5 favorite under Leparoux, Her Majesty won the one-mile race by four lengths. Biancone said she will make her next start in the Sept. 30 Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies or the Oct. 6 Alcibiades Stakes at Keeneland.

"I could have run her against fillies Saturday, but Julien and I will be in New York that day," he said, referring to Cosmonaut's scheduled run at Belmont Park in the Grade 1 Man o' War Stakes. "It is just as well. She won very easy."

Leparoux and Biancone will be back Sunday at Turfway to team with Likely, a 3-year-old who will prep for the Kentucky Cup Sprint by running in a $30,700 allowance. Winner of the Lafayette Stakes last spring at Keeneland, Likely will be heavily favored in the allowance, which goes as the sixth race on the 10-race card. The card also features a $30,700 allowance route for fillies and mares, which goes as the ninth race.

Martinez enjoying new Polytrack

Willie Martinez, a nine-time Turfway riding champion whose 12 mounts on the first two nights of the meet were the most for any jockey, said he is thrilled with how the renovated Polytrack surface feels beneath him.

"They really have done a great job with it," Martinez said Friday morning at Churchill Downs. "It's tighter, and there's not nearly as much kickback as before. The best thing is like I was telling [trainer] Neil Howard: 'This surface, we're going to get to keep these horses around longer.' "

The remixed Polytrack sports a deeper shade of brown than its predecessor, which was grayish-white when it was installed last summer. The new surface is a modified version with tiny Spandex strands and plastic cable coating in the mix, along with a slightly heavier wax coating. It was blended with the original material, which consisted of rubber bits, carpet fibers, and wax-coated silica sand.

Different plans for 'June' and Suave

Second of June and Suave, the second- and last-place finishers in the Grade 1 Woodward last weekend at Saratoga, apparently are headed separate ways for the first time in a while.

Second of June will run next in either the Sept. 30 Hawthorne Gold Cup or the Oct. 7 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont, said trainer Bill Cesare, whereas Suave will be strongly considered for the Nov. 4 Breeders' Cup Classic while training at Churchill, his longtime home base.

Second of June and Suave have faced each other in each of their last three starts, with Suave winning a June allowance at Churchill and the Washington Park Handicap at Arlington before his poor Woodward effort.

Stakes plans for two juveniles

Two standout 2-year-olds based at Churchill, Unbridled Express and Passport, are under consideration for stakes in Kentucky. Bernie Flint, trainer of Unbridled Express, and Frank Brothers, trainer of Passport, both said that either the Kentucky Cup Juvenile at Turfway or the Oct. 7 Lane's End Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland will be next for their colts.

In races last weekend, Unbridled Express was third in the Hopeful at Saratoga, and Passport won the Cradle at River Downs.

Sunriver okay to train now

Sunriver, the Todd Pletcher-trained colt who finished sixth and last in the July 29 Jim Dandy at Saratoga in his last start, has returned to training at Churchill after recovering from what assistant Mike McCarthy described as an infected right hind ankle.

"He's been back galloping a couple of weeks now," McCarthy said Thursday at Churchill. "We don't have any particular race in mind for him quite yet."

Sunriver put together a solid string of races, including a third-place finish in the Belmont Stakes, before disappointing in the Jim Dandy.

Bright One eyes Indiana Derby

Bright One, the flashy 3-year-old who was withheld from the Travers with a minor illness, is "back on track" for the Oct. 7 Indiana Derby at Hoosier Park, said trainer Dale Romans.

Bright One, a 5 3/4-length winner of the $750,000 West Virginia Derby in his most recent start Aug. 6, recently posted a bullet five-furlong breeze at Churchill.

Unbridled Sidney will get time off

Trainer Ronny Werner said his turf-sprint specialist Unbridled Sidney will bypass the Oct. 19 Franklin County Stakes at Keeneland to await the Churchill fall meet. Werner said Unbridled Sidney, winner of the $250,000 Distaff Turf Sprint Championship at Calder last month, "just needs a little break" after finishing sixth as the odds-on favorite in a Sept. 4 stakes at Louisiana Downs.

"We've asked a lot of her this year," said Werner

Werner said another top filly in his barn, Flying Glitter, is a candidate for the Turfway Breeders' Cup on the Kentucky Cup card.

Jockeys now using mandated helmets

New jockey helmets meeting specifications of the American Standard Testing Materials and mandated by the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority are now in use at Turfway, which received a shipment mere hours before the opener Wednesday evening. Jeff Johnston, Midwest regional manager for the Jockeys' Guild, said out-of-town jockeys need to be aware of the new regulations regarding helmet use.

Butler returns from Minnesota

Veteran jockey Dean Butler is back on the Kentucky circuit after spending a productive summer at Canterbury Park in Minnesota. Butler rode 25 winners from 197 mounts at Canterbury.

"I enjoyed it, but it's good to be back here, too," said Butler, a Saratoga Springs, N.Y., native who has won more than 1,000 races.