10/10/2007 12:00AM

Old Man Buck faces Cup decision

EmailLOUISVILLE, Ky. - Gio Ponti and Globetrotter positioned themselves as Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf candidates with victories in Sunday's Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland and Monday's Grey Stakes at Woodbine, respectively.

But it was Cradle winner Old Man Buck, who ran third in Saturday's Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland, that may have done the most to race himself into the Breeders' Cup - be it in the Juvenile Turf or the Juvenile.

With his third-place finish against top company, Old Man Buck showed his class and picked up 4 graded stakes points - giving him an advantage over many Juvenile Turf hopefuls, who largely lack top-three finishes in graded races in the United States.

Trainer Ken McPeek said Wednesday he was undecided whether to run Old Man Buck in the Juvenile or the Juvenile Turf. The horse is more accomplished on turf, but has trained well on dirt.

If the Juvenile Turf overfills - a realistic possibility given that the field is restricted to 12 horses - six horses automatically gain entry based on points earned with top-three finishes in U.S. graded stakes. The Breeders' Cup selection committee would then determine the remaining six starters, plus an alternates list.

With many of the leading contenders lacking points in U.S. graded races - such as stakes winners Prussian, Cherokee Triangle, and The Leopard - the Juvenile Turf could prove the toughest race for the Breeders' Cup selection committee to determine starters.

Making their task even more challenging is a potential European presence. River Proud, trained by Paul Cole, is a possibility after winning the Group 3 Somerville Tattersalls Stakes at Newmarket on Oct 5. Also under consideration for the colt is the Grade 1 Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster on Oct. 27.

In addition to Globetrotter, who has raced exclusively on synthetic tracks, the Juvenile Turf could draw Texas Fever, winner of the Grade 3 Kentucky Cup Juvenile over Turfway's Polytrack.

Texas Fever's trainer, Mike Stidham, plans to work him a half-mile over Keeneland's turf course Thursday to get a line on his grass ability. He said Texas Fever could be pre-entered on Monday for both the Juvenile and Juvenile Turf.