10/23/2007 12:00AM

Midnight Lute, Smokey Stover start inside

EmailOCEANPORT, N.J. - The usual nail biting and angst that accompanies the post-position draw for the $2 million Breeders' Cup Sprint was virtually eliminated this year after only 11 of the 15 horses pre-entered for the six-furlong dash remained when entries were drawn for the race at Monmouth Park on Tuesday. The maximum field size for the Sprint is 14.

The only real surprise during the Sprint draw came when trainer Bill Mott cross-entered Forefathers in both the Sprint and Friday's Dirt Mile. According to Breeders' Cup rules, a horse can be entered in more than one race as long as neither event oversubscribes and they are not depriving another horse of a spot. The full entry fee must still be paid for both events.

Owned by Ahmed Zayat, Forefathers drew post 11 for the Sprint with Kent Desormeaux listed to ride.

"It was Mr. Zayat's decision to put up the money for both races," said Mott, who took over Forefathers's training earlier this year. "And, obviously, he'll have a big say in which race Forefathers competes in, although we'll converse before making that decision. Frankly, I'm fine with post 11 for the Sprint. I wouldn't have wanted 1 or 2."

The Sprint was Forefathers's first preference when he was pre-entered for both events last week.

If he runs, Forefathers will be among the longshots in a Sprint field that features an abundance of early speed. Expected to vie for the early lead are Attila's Storm, who will compete in his third straight Sprint, Bordonaro, Commentator, Idiot Proof, and Talent Search.

Midnight Lute, who drew post 2, will be favored to win the Sprint coming off his sensational 2 1/4-length victory in the Grade 1 Forego. That race was decided at seven furlongs and is his only victory in four starts this year.

Smokey Stover, with jockey Aaron Gryder up, will likely be the second betting choice despite drawing the rail.

"I wouldn't have chosen that post if given the option, but I wanted to be somewhere down near the inside, and with this horse, post 1 shouldn't be a concern," trainer Greg Gilchrist said. "Anyway, it's Aaron's problem now."

The late-running Benny the Bull was easily second behind Midnight Lute in the Forego and is another who would benefit from a fast pace.

Bordonaro, fourth in the 2006 Sprint, will return while wearing blinkers for the first time Saturday.