05/05/2005 12:00AM

Pass Rush classy but rusty

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Benoit & Associates
Pass Rush, a Grade 2 winner in 2003, faces Indiana-breds for only the second time Saturday.

Graded stakes winner Pass Rush returns from a year layoff to face eight Indiana-breds in Saturday's $40,000 William Henry Harrison at Indiana Downs.

Pass Rush has been transferred from trainer Pat Byrne to David Vance's barn since his last start, which came against allowance company at Churchill Downs on May 4, 2004. Despite the fact the 6-year-old Pass Rush is winless since capturing the Grade 2 San Fernando Stakes at Santa Anita in January 2003, he is strictly the one to beat.

With $506,225 in career earnings, Pass Rush surpasses the combined earnings of the other seven entrants. Pass Rush has faced Indiana-bred company only once in his 25-race career, scoring an easy 8 1/4-length victory in a stakes in October 2002 at Hoosier Park.

Vance has sent out Pass Rush for four workouts over the past month at Churchill in preparation for the six-furlong Harrison, including a bullet five-furlong move in 59.40 seconds on April 25. Rodney Prescott, the meet's leading rider, picks up the mount on Pass Rush, and the pair should be in a good stalking position early.

Bruce on the Loose, a 3-year-old, may be Pass Rush's main threat. Bruce on the Loose has won 4 of his 5 career starts, including two stakes last fall at Hoosier, and is just a half-length short of being undefeated. Kim Nesbitt trains Bruce on the Loose. His regular rider, Lester Knight, has a return call.

Liepers Fork was a disappointment in his only start this year, finishing seventh, beaten 5 3/4 lengths, as the 2-1 favorite against allowance company at Indiana Downs April 19. A 4-year-old trained by Richard Kohnhurst, Liepers Fork ran several races last year that would make him a major threat in the Harrison.