07/04/2007 11:00PM

Old-timers' day in Da Hoss Stakes


Supposedly, you can't teach an old dog new tricks. Trainer Jonathan Sheppard will attempt to find out whether that adage also applies to old horses with a pair of well-accomplished 8-year-old geldings in Saturday's $60,000 Da Hoss Stakes at Colonial Downs.

Sheppard is scheduled to send out the uncoupled entry of Mixed Up, a two-time Grade 1 winner in steeplechase stakes the past two seasons, and Alumni Hall, a two-time Grade 3 stakes winner on dirt, in the one-mile Da Hoss over Colonial's inner turf course.

Mixed Up, who won the Royal Chase Handicap at Keeneland in his only start of 2007, at least has had some success racing on the flat on turf, though it was so long ago it may no longer be relevant.

Mixed Up's last flat race on turf came in a first-level allowance at Atlantic City in May 2005, a race he won with a modest Beyer Speed Figure of 80. His last stakes win on the flat on turf was nearly three years ago, in the August 2004 Capital City Stakes at Penn National, for which he received a Beyer Figure of 85.

Alumni Hall has made 17 appearances in Grade 2 and Grade 3 stakes during a 28-race career highlighted by wins in the Ben Ali and Fayette, both Grade 3 events at Keeneland, in 2005.

In his only prior try on grass, Alumni Hall was fifth and last going 7 1/2 furlongs in an optional claimer at Fair Grounds in 2004.

A sharp horse from a hot barn is Ballast, a 6-year-old trained by Graham Motion. Through July 2, Motion had won with 6 of 15 starters - all on turf - at Colonial. That record exceeds his turf success locally the previous two years, during which Motion was only for 5 for 53.

Ballast, winner of the Grade 3 Tropical Turf Handicap at Calder last December, tuned up for this start with a sharp second in a stakes-caliber allowance at Delaware Park a month ago. The consistent Ballast has posted five consecutive Beyers between 95 and 99.

Another old-timer who merits respect is Midwatch, an 8-year-old trained by Rodney Jenkins. Midwatch is 3 for 9 over Colonial's turf, including a sprint stakes last summer. A front-runner when he goes long, Midwatch was second in this spring's one-mile Henry Clark at Pimlico and second at the stretch call of the 1o1/16-mile Old Nelson last time out locally.