08/29/2002 11:00PM

Majestic Dinner to repeat?


The only things that have stopped Majestic Dinner from dominating his fellow Ohio-breds over the last 14 months have been the River Downs turf course and a bad start.

While there are no real preventive measures for the bad start, Majestic Dinner won't have to worry about not liking the surface when he seeks a repeat win in the $75,000 Governor's Buckeye Cup at River Downs on Sunday.

The Governor's Buckeye Cup, run at 1 1/4 miles on dirt, has showcased many of the finest Ohio-breds in its 36-year history, and Majestic Dinner is quickly becoming one of them. Following his win in last year's Governor's, Majestic Dinner displayed Forego-like versatility, winning the six-furlong Honey Jay Handicap at Beulah, then the 10-furlong Best of Ohio Endurance.

Majestic Dinner's success has continued this year. Aside from a second consecutive loss in the Sydney Gendelman Memorial on turf, a surface he has never mastered, Majestic Dinner has won open allowances at Tampa Bay Downs and Mountaineer, plus the George Lewis Memorial at Thistledown, a race he lost last year after hopping at the start.

Regular rider Ricardo Feliciano will be in from Cleveland to ride Majestic Dinner.

The most likely upsetter is Devil Time. Stabled at the Churchill Downs barn of trainer David Carroll, Devil Time defeated Majestic Dinner in the Gendelman Memorial in June. While turf is Devil Time's preferred surface, he has placed behind Majestic Dinner in their last two encounters on dirt.

Lone Star Sky draws post 2

Lone Star Sky drew post 2 for Monday's $200,000 Cradle Stakes at 1 1/16 miles, the traditional closing-day feature at River Downs. Winner of the Bashford Manor and runner-up in the Saratoga Special in his most recent start, Lone Star Sky is expected to be the heavy favorite in the field of nine 2-year-olds.

Payforaday, a dominant 10 3/4-length winner of the Cradle prep Aug. 10, will break from post 8, while Christmas Away, an impressive maiden winner at Arlington for trainer Pat Byrne, will break from post 6.