04/03/2007 11:00PM

Mending Fences ideally drawn

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Mending Fences, a front-runner seeking his first stakes win, drew the rail for Saturday night's Grade 3, $200,000 Connally Breeders' Cup Turf Handicap at Sam Houston Race Park. The 1 1/8-mile turf race is the richest of three stakes to be run on the closing-night card.

In all, seven older horses were entered Wednesday in the Connally, led by 119-pound starting highweight Silver Tree. Mending Fences is weighted at 113, and comes into the race off a runner-up finish to English Channel in a $50,000 allowance race at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 22. He was traveling from south Florida to Arkansas on Wednesday, aboard a flight carrying horses to Oaklawn for stakes during the Racing Festival of the South.

"I'm going to van him over from Oaklawn," said Marty Wolfson, who trains Mending Fences.

Also on the flight was the Bill Mott-trained Silver Tree, winner of the Grade 3 Appleton Handicap at Gulfstream in his last start.

It is about a seven-hour van ride from Oaklawn to Sam Houston.

Wolfson said Mending Fences will be ridden by Quincy Hamilton. Roimes Chirinos has the mount on Silver Tree.

The remainder of the field consists of Embossed, 117, Larry Melancon; General Charley, 110, Paul Nolan; Fort Prado, 116, Corey Lanerie; Doctor Doctor Mrmd, 109, Anthony Cruz; and Storm Treasure, 115, Jose Figueroa.

The Connally will go as the seventh race, with a scheduled post of 9:36 p.m. Central. In the other stakes on the card, the 13-year-old Proven Cure is slated to make his seasonal debut in the $50,000 Sam Houston Turf Sprint Cup, while local stakes winner Wild Encounter is one of 12 in the $50,000 Jersey Lilly.

* Steve Davidowitz, an author and handicapper, will be a panelist during a free handicapping seminar at 7op.m. on Saturday. Davidowitz is at Sam Houston to sign copies of his new book, "The Best and Worst of Thoroughbred Racing," at 4 p.m.

* There is a free, $1,000 online handicapping contest tied to the Connally at www.shrp.com, the website for Sam Houston.