04/11/2007 11:00PM

Lewis Michael out to turn tables on Midnight Lute


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Midnight Lute blew past Lewis Michael to win the Perryville Stakes by nearly five lengths at Keeneland last fall, but Lewis Michael's trainer, Wayne Catalano, is hoping the rematch unfolds in a different way and yields a different result.

Catalano will give jockey Rene Douglas a leg up on Lewis Michael when the colt faces Midnight Lute and 10 other older horses in a competitive 21st running of the Grade 2, $400,000 Commonwealth Breeders' Cup, which directly precedes the Blue Grass Stakes as the eighth of 10 Saturday races at Keeneland.

"Maybe Rene pulled the trigger a little early in the Perryville, I don't know," said Catalano, who trains Lewis Michael for Frank Calabrese, the perennial top owner on the Chicago circuit. "You couldn't make the front too early that day, and the horse just pulled the jock to the lead turning for home. Hopefully, we can move at the right time in this race."

Lewis Michael and Midnight Lute are just two horses meriting serious consideration in the Commonwealth BC, a seven-furlong race being run for the first time on Polytrack. Also entered with solid credentials are Steel Light, Silent Name, Ryan's for Real, and High Finance.

Midnight Lute has not won since the Grade 3 Perryville, but the Bob Baffert-trained colt nonetheless has developed into one of the West Coast's leading 4-year-olds, earning triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures in all three of his subsequent starts. Third in the Malibu, second in the San Fernando, and fourth in the Strub, the Real Quiet-sired Midnight Lute enters the Commonwealth as a deserving favorite. Edgar Prado will ride Midnight Lute from post 7.

Lewis Michael will break from post 11, which Catalano hopes will allow the colt a clear position from which to launch a well-timed run. Catalano, a former jockey, was aboard Lewis Michael Tuesday morning when the Rahy colt worked a half-mile in 47.60 seconds over the Keeneland Polytrack.

"I'm very happy with him," said Catalano. "I know this race isn't an easy one, but this colt is coming up to it the right way."

Of the others, Steel Light and Silent Name are both intriguing, if for no other reason than they have been turf specialists to this point.

Steel Light, trained by Christophe Clement, developed into a highly useful 4-year-old in 2005 before being sidelined. He finally returned to action last month with a very sharp runner-up finish behind Silver Tree in the Appleton Handicap at Gulfstream Park.

Silent Name, trained by Gary Mandella, won the Grade 2 Arcadia Handicap a little more than a year ago.

Conversely, Ryan's for Real and High Finance step up with potent dirt form. Ryan's for Real earned Beyers of 103 and 105 in his last two starts, while High Finance, fourth as the favorite in the Perryville last fall, ran respectably this winter at Gulfstream against top dirt sprinters Kelly's Landing and Keyed Entry.

The rest of the Commonwealth field is Buddy Got Even, River City Rebel, Straight Line, Ramsgate, Deep Canyon, and Gin and Sin.