08/15/2007 11:00PM

Maker saddling two he calls 'very live'


HENDERSON, Ky. - Trainer Mike Maker absolutely ruled Ellis Park two Saturdays ago when he saddled three winners in the seven-race Claiming Crown series. Ellis Park horseplayers are hereby put on notice that Maker will be back Saturday with what he termed as two "very live" prospects.

Maker, the former longtime D. Wayne Lukas assistant who went out on his own in 2003, will run Yonegwa in the James C. Ellis Juvenile, the first of three $50,000 races that precedes the Gardenia Handicap on a 12-race Ellis program. About an hour later, Maker will saddle Self Made Man as one of the favorites in the Regaey Island Stakes.

After winning a Churchill Downs maiden race two races back, Yonegwa lost virtually all chance at the start of his next race, the Aug. 4 Mountaineer Juvenile. He stumbled a bit, then rushed up along the rail to engage in a spirited speed duel. He wound up seventh.

"You just can't do that at Mountaineer," said Maker. "He's always shown me to be a nice colt, so I've pretty much got to forgive that race. Hopefully, that tough trip is the reason he got beat the way he did. If not, we're in trouble."

Yonegwa will be ridden by Miguel Mena, who rode the three Claiming Crown winners for Maker. Yonegwa will start from post 2 in a field of seven in the seven-furlong Ellis Juvenile, which will have only as many as six betting interests, with trainer Jerry Hammond sending out the coupled entry of Ridgeland Avenue and Just Luke. Another trainer, Bob Holthus, also will run two colts, Pulaski Runner and D.C. Eight, but rules of separate ownership will permit them to run uncoupled for wagering purposes.

Wonderful Luck strong in Fisher

Wonderful Luck was no factor in the July 7 Debutante Stakes at Churchill after easily winning a minor stakes at Hollywood Park in her previous start. But without having to face the likes of her exceptionally fast (and since injured) stablemate Rated Fiesty, she figures as a major contender in the Anna M. Fisher Debutante (race 9).

Trained by Steve Asmussen, Wonderful Luck will start from post 1 in a field of nine 2-year-old fillies in the seven-furlong Fisher Debutante. Kristin Crawford, Asmussen's local assistant, will perform saddling duties while her boss is at Saratoga, where the unbeaten Rated Fiesty recently incurred a injury that will sideline her for the rest of this year.

Besides Wonderful Luck, other likely favorites include Reen, a Julyo1 maiden winner at Churchill for Holthus, and Love Buzz, who was second by a nose in an allowance prep here July 28. Two fillies who remain maidens after two starts but nonetheless bear watching are Miss Triss and French Kiss.

Self Made Man drops

Maker said he has "a lot of confidence" in Self Made Man in the Regaey Island (race 10), a 1 1/16-mile turf race that drew a full field of 12 3-year-olds. Self Made Man was overmatched when ninth in the Grade 2 American Derby at Arlington Park in his latest start, but appears to return to a far better fit Saturday. Mena has the mount.

Other contenders in a competitive-looking renewal of the Regaey Island include Chestermite, who was eighth in the Claiming Crown Emerald for trainer Darrin Miller; Poschner, most recently second in an Arlington turf allowance; Chief Thief, a minor stakes winner at Canterbury Park last out; What a Character, who ended the Churchill meet in solid form; and Winyah, a speedy colt who probably needed his last start at Churchill.