10/02/2002 11:00PM

Orientate-Xtra Heat battle delayed


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Even trainer D. Wayne Lukas is a little curious about what would happen if Orientate races against Xtra Heat. That fascinating matchup was tentatively scheduled to take place Saturday at Keeneland in the Phoenix Stakes, but with the soggy remnants of Hurricane Lili apparently headed for Lexington this weekend, Lukas decided against entering Orientate.

"We were only 50-50 to run in the first place," Lukas said Thursday at his Churchill Downs barn. "But when we saw what the weather was supposed to be like, I decided to back off and just wait for the Breeders' Cup [Sprint]."

With a wry smile, Lukas acknowledged that a pre-Breeders' Cup clash between Orientate and Xtra Heat would have generated tremendous interest among the racing public. Orientate has become the hottest sprinter in North America after winning his last four starts in spectacular fashion, while Xtra Heat has been sensational for nearly two years, winning 23 of 30 career starts.

"I guess we've got to put it on hold until the Breeders' Cup," said Lukas.

Lukas said he "didn't want to take the chance" of Orientate "burning his heels on a bad track" Saturday. "We've gotten this far, and obviously you don't want to do anything to jeopardize missing the race you've been aiming for all year."

In place of Orientate, Lukas will start Day Trader in the Phoenix. Day Trader, a 3-year-old Phone Trick colt, was exceptionally sharp in leading all the way in the Grade 2 Kentucky Cup Sprint in his last start.

"It's not beyond him beating anybody," said Lukas. "He's got to go over there and do it, but believe me, he's doing darn good right now. It wouldn't surprise me at all if he beats that filly."

Byrne: Private Gold's last race a 'toss-out'

On paper, the runner-up finish by Private Gold in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile at Turfway Park looks ordinary at best. The colt was beaten six lengths by Vindication, but trainer Pat Byrne says not to believe everything you read.

A loose horse ran alongside Private Gold for most of the Juvenile, causing jockey Pat Day to ride cautiously. Pinned along what Byrne called a dead rail, Private Gold was unable to keep pace in the final quarter-mile when Vindication launched a huge outside sweeping run en route to victory.

"In my mind, that's completely a toss-out race for my colt," said Byrne.

In the Breeders' Futurity on Saturday, Private Gold figures as third choice behind Sky Mesa and Lone Star Sky. Rene Douglas will replace Day, who is riding in New York.

Likely fields for Spinster, Shadwell Turf Mile

An exhilarating weekend of top-class racing will close Sunday with two Grade 1 races.

The prospective field for the $500,000 Overbrook Spinster Stakes, long the signature race of the Keeneland fall meet, remains at seven fillies and mares: Atelier, Dancethruthedawn, Lakenheath, Printemps, Take Charge Lady, Victory Ride, and You.

The co-feature, the $600,000 Shadwell Turf Mile, will be run as a Grade 1 for the first time, upgraded last year by the North American Graded Stakes Committee.

Beat Hollow and Startac are the probable favorites in a field that is also expected to include Balto Star, Freefourinternet, Grammarian, Landseer, North East Bound, Quiet Resolve, and Touch of the Blues.

Lord Flasheart displays a no-fly personality

Lord Flasheart, one of the top contenders for the $150,000 Sycamore BC Stakes Sunday, was supposed to be on the Tex Sutton charter flight that arrived here Tuesday from New York.

Lord Flasheart's trainer, Bobby Frankel, sent several other horses for opening weekend on the charter plane. But Lord Flasheart, a 5-year-old horse owned by Edmund Gann, had his own ideas about traveling to Keeneland. Frankel said the horse became agitated and refused to load on the plane. Then, even after being tranquilized, Lord Flasheart still refused.

So Frankel hired a van to bring Lord Flasheart to Keeneland. The horse was scheduled to arrive Thursday.

Ankle surgery for Awesome Humor

Awesome Humor, the unbeaten filly who figured as one of the favorites for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies before she was found to have an ankle chip two weeks ago, underwent surgery Wednesday, said trainer Elliott Walden.

Dr. Bill Baker removed a chip from each of her front ankles at the Woodford Veterinary Clinic, said Walden.

"Everything went really well," he said. "The plan is for her to come back in about eight weeks, which will be about the first of December. We'll send her to Payson Park and get her ready for the big 3-year-old filly races."

Awesome Humor, owned by WinStar Farm, has won all four of her starts, including the Adirondack and Spinaway at Saratoga.

Color Tito's Beau's silks a compromise

When a horse is owned by more than one person, something as simple as which silks will be worn by the horse's jockey can become a debatable matter.

As well-known examples, Bert Firestone and Allen Paulson went to court about which silks Theatrical would wear in the 1987 Breeders' Cup Turf (Paulson won), and in 1991-92, the partnership of Giles Brophy, Joe Cornacchia, and William Condren had a bitter falling-out over several issues involving Strike the Gold, including silks.

In 1994, partners W.T. Young and David Reynolds agreed to alternate silks. Tabasco Cat wore Young's Overbrook silks in the Kentucky Derby and Belmont while the colt wore the Reynolds silks in winning the Preakness.

Now comes Tito's Beau, a longshot in the Breeders' Futurity. Owned by Patty W. Tipton and Tom Musselman Sr., the colt will run under new purple-and-yellow silks Saturday, the result of a compromise between the partners.

"The purple is for royalty and the yellow for friendship, representing a royal friendship," said Tipton.

Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe simulcast

Keeneland is one of a number of North American tracks and outlets that will simulcast the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe from Paris on Sunday. Keeneland will offer six races from Longchamp, with post time for the first of those set for 9 a.m. Eastern.

Post time for the Arc is 11:30 a.m. Daily Racing Form will publish past performances for the Arc in Sunday's editions.

* Southern California journeyman rider Brice Blanc plans to ride in Kentucky this fall, according to Steve Bass, who will work as Blanc's agent. Blanc rode at Kentucky Downs in the Kentucky Cup turf series last month and said he was seriously considering a move to Kentucky. Blanc could begin riding as early as Wednesday, said Bass.

* Request for Parole, who ran fifth in the Kentucky Derby and then was sidelined by a stress fracture in a cannon bone, will move into trainer Stan Hough's stable later this year, said Steve Margolis, who formerly trained the colt. Margolis is a former longtime assistant to Hough.

* Sports fans will have at least one chance to pull off one of those always popular Bluegrass doubleheaders this fall. The University of Kentucky football team is scheduled to play South Carolina next Saturday at nearby Commonwealth Stadium, meaning Keeneland will be full of fans headed for the game afterward. Kickoff is 6:30 p.m. Eastern.

* Kentucky also has a home game Oct. 26 against Georgia, and although game time is subject to change because of television considerations, the kickoff tentatively is set for 3:30 p.m.