04/11/2002 11:00PM

Overbrook branches out to other trainers

Email

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Overbrook Farm has sent five 2-year-olds to trainer Dallas Stewart in a notable departure from its longstanding relationship with D. Wayne Lukas.

Lukas will still train the majority of horses for Overbrook.

Overbrook also has sent several 2-year-olds to Christophe Clement, who has trained a few older horses for the farm in recent years.

Overbrook owner William T. Young said Friday at Keeneland that the decision to move horses to Stewart and Clement "is nothing ominous and has no real bearing on the future. It's just that Dallas is like part of the family. He's about as close to Wayne as you can get." Stewart is a former Lukas assistant.

Lukas said he has "absolutely no problem" with the horses going to Stewart, who said the horses came into his Churchill Downs barn about two weeks ago.

"It was done with everyone's blessing," said Lukas. "Dallas worked closely with [Overbrook] for nearly 12 years when he was with me, so I'm fine with it. I've always said that my clientele has had a huge influence on" his former assistants, including Mark Hennig, Todd Pletcher, and Stewart.

Overbrook and Lukas have been a team for about 15 years and have won major races throughout the U.S. Their biggest victories came in the 1996 Kentucky Derby with Grindstone and the 1999 Breeders' Cup Classic with Cat Thief.

The late Francois Boutin, to whom Young's daughter, Lucy, was married, had a substantial influence on Clement, a Frenchman who has been based primarily in New York the last 10 years.

One Tuff Fox joins Lexington lineup

One Tuff Fox has joined the prospective lineup for the Coolmore Lexington Stakes, a development that figures to add even more speed to a race with front-runners aplenty.

One Tuff Fox, trained by Richard Dutrow Jr., is one of several speedy 3-year-olds set for the Grade 2, $325,000 Lexington, a 1 1/16-mile race to be run here Saturday. Ethan Man and Officer also are expected to run, along with Easyfromthegitgo, Tales of the Crypt, Proud Citizen, and Classic Case.

Royal Gem, an impressive grass prospect for Bobby Frankel, may try the dirt for the first time in the Lexington, although Frankel said Royal Gem may just stay on the grass by running Wednesday in the $100,000 Forerunner Stakes.

If Royal Gem opts for the Lexington, then Mystic Salse, trained by Frank Mourier, could be the favorite in the 1 1/8-mile Forerunner. As for One Tuff Fox, he has already shipped from Sportsman's Park to Keeneland, where he was to breeze Saturday morning under jockey Eddie Martin Jr. Dutrow had considered running One Tuff Fox in the Arkansas Derby but could not line up adequate transportation from Chicago. One Tuff Fox, owned and bred by Italo-Erin Stables, was scratched the morning of the April 6 Illinois Derby after stewards at Sportsman's Park were notified the horse had been left unattended after receiving a Lasix shot. According to Illinois state laws, that was a violation. Dutrow disputes the claim by the stewards, who said it was mandatory they scratch the horse.

Dutrow said, "It's up to the stewards' discretion. They could have fined me, or warned me; they didn't have to do what they did."

Though nothing has been filed yet, Dutrow said he and his owners plan to sue the Sportsman Park stewards.

If the hat fits, wear it

After trainer Ronny Werner sent out Badge of Silver to a nine-length victory in the first race here Friday, winning owner Ken Ramsey strolled into the winner's circle with a cowboy hat atop his head.

"Do I have it on right?" Ramsey asked with a grin. "Never know. I might have it on backwards."

Werner, a Texan known for his Texas-style attire, said Ramsey "told me had a cowboy hat, and I said, 'I can't imagine what that must look like.' So I bought one in Texas and brought it all the way up here to give it to him."

Badge of Silver likely will run next in the May 4 Three Chimneys Juvenile on the Kentucky Derby undercard. He was the first horse that Werner ran for Ramsey, who has 10 2-year-olds with Werner.

91-1 bomb didn't shock Jackson

James Jackson wasn't nearly as surprised as most people when Camara Cat won the fifth race here Thursday at 91-1, the highest winning price of the meet.

Jackson claimed Camara Cat for a mere $7,500 in February, then sent her out to a last-place finish in her only previous start under his care. "She came out of that with a bad head infection," said Jackson. "I cleaned that up and thought she'd run big, even though that was a tough spot she was in."

Camara Cat, ridden by Willie Martinez, led all the way to win a $54,000 allowance sprint.

Jackson, 56, has been training for nearly 40 years, having spent more than 30 in Detroit before moving back several years ago to Lexington, where he was born and raised. He has 31 horses stabled at the nearby Thoroughbred Training Center.

Azeff moving to Louisville

Yvonne Azeff, the assistant trainer to John Ward Jr. who suffered serious head injuries in an accident at Gulfstream Park this winter, will be moved from Florida to Louisville, Ky., on April 20, Ward said Friday morning at Keeneland.

Ward said Azeff has made significant progress in recent weeks. He said he had a 10-minute phone conversation with her on Thursday. Azeff has been at a rehabilitation facility in south Florida.

"She's very anxious to get back to Kentucky," Ward said. "She's going to be an outpatient at a facility in Louisville. She'll go in during the day, and be home at night."

- additional reporting by Jay Privman and David Grening