05/09/2006 12:00AM

No rushing Oaks winner back

Lemons Forever, winning the Kentucky Oaks, will not run in the Acorn.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Lemons Forever, the longest-priced winner in history, may not race again until either the July 1 Mother Goose Stakes or July 22 Coaching Club American Oaks, both at Belmont Park, trainer Dallas Stewart said Tuesday.

Stewart, based at Churchill Downs, said Lemons Forever definitely will not run next in the June 10 Acorn Stakes, a one-mile race that is frequently used as a next race by Oaks winners.

"It's just too short for her," he said.

Lemons Forever, by Lemon Drop Kid, scored her first stakes win in the Grade 1 Oaks when she rallied from far behind in the 1 1/8-mile race last Friday at Churchill. She was sent away at 47-1, surpassing the Oaks record of 40-1 for the 1903 winner, Lemco.

Stewart said he is "still riding high" on a wave of emotion that came with scoring what he calls his greatest career victory. As a New Orleans native and longtime resident, Stewart and his family have endured a very difficult time since Hurricane Katrina devastated the New Orleans area on Aug. 29.

"It was a terrific day for my whole crew, my family, everybody," he said of Oaks Day. "We're all still enjoying it."

Timing right for Ermine in Acorn

The Oaks runner-up, Ermine, probably will run next in the Acorn, even though trainer Ronny Werner said he was hesitant to return the filly to a one-turn race.

"The timing is right, that's the good part," said Werner. "She really does well with the four or five weeks between races, and with the Acorn being five weeks out, that's perfect. The only thing that has me thinking it over is the one turn."

Werner said Ermine "ran great" winning the Honeybee, a two-turn Oaklawn Park race preceding the Oaks, "and she ran great Friday, too."

In the days leading to the Oaks, it appeared that Ermine would not make the field because of insufficient earnings. But by Monday, the day before entries, it became clear she would make it, which made Werner happy.

"It all really worked out for us," he said. "I knew she would be very competitive."

No excuses for Charging Indian

Charging Indian, the previously unbeaten 4-year-old who finished last at 3-1 in the Churchill Downs Handicap, "came out of the race just fine," said trainer Walt Bindner Jr.

"We checked him out, did blood work, and everything is okay," said Bindner. "He just didn't run a step."

Jockeys' race boils down to regulars

With many of the big-name jockeys who rode in Kentucky throughout the last month having left town following the Derby, the jockeys' race at the Churchill spring meet figures to come into greater focus during the next week or so.

Through last weekend, the leading riders among those who plan to be here through the end of the meet, July 16, were apprentice Julien Leparoux (14 wins), Rafael Bejarano (8), Rene Douglas (7), and Shaun Bridgmohan (6).

* Bob Mitchell, who for the last decade or so served as a greeter and assistant in the Keeneland press box, died Sunday in Lexington, Ky., after a brief illness.