08/17/2005 11:00PM

Pate has big plans outlined for Deputy G

Deputy G (left) will put his unbeaten streak on the line in the James C. Ellis Juvenile.

HENDERSON, Ky. - David Pate has been working with racehorses for most of his adult life. He had an abbreviated and undistinguished career as a jockey before turning to training in 1972, and although he has sent out some 400 winners, he endured several years in the mid-1980's when he didn't win a single race.

Those lean years have helped to make these recent weeks around the Pate barn so enjoyable. Pate, 62, is the trainer of Deputy G, one of the more promising 2-year-olds in North America and the heavy favorite to remain unbeaten Saturday in the $75,000 James C. Ellis Juvenile at Ellis Park.

"It makes it a whole lot easier when you've got a nice horse like him in the barn," said Pate, who has about 20 horses stabled at Ellis.

Deputy G was assigned post 2 and will be ridden by Jesus Castanon, the leading jockey at the Ellis meet, as one of six 2-year-olds in the Juvenile. The seven-furlong Juvenile is carded as the eighth race and is part of the new Big Four Stakes program, highlighted by the Grade 3 Gardenia.

If all goes well Saturday, Deputy G will run next in the Sept. 17 Kentucky Cup Juvenile at Turfway Park, then the Oct. 8 Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland. The colt is owned by the Spade Stable, a 19-member Louisville-based syndicate.

"We could have gone up to Saratoga and run against Henny Hughes and some of the best 2-year-olds, but the owners want to stay in Kentucky, at least for now," said Pate.

Perhaps the strongest opponents for Deputy G on Saturday will be Catcominatcha, Final Copy, or Red Raymond.

Turf: Shaconage long overdue

Since capturing two Grade 3 handicaps at the 2004 Churchill spring meet, Shaconage has gone winless in 11 starts. But that certainly hasn't been for a lack of trying, nor does her losing streak appear destined to continue much longer.

Indeed, as the most accomplished of seven fillies and mares entered in the $100,000 Ellis Park Breeders' Cup Turf (race 9), Shaconage might get her long-overdue trip to the winner's circle if only she runs her normal race. In each of her last four starts, all Grade 3 turf races, she has lost by one length or less.

Brice Blanc will be in from Chicago to ride Shaconage, a 5-year-old gray mare, for trainer Mitch Shirota in the 1 1/16-mile Ellis BC Turf.

Other contenders include Tisket a Tasket, a late-running Broad Brush filly trained by Mike Stidham; Miss Wellspring, a winner in both career turf tries; and Victoire Bataille, an early-going danger in a race that does not appear to sport very much pace.

Shaconage, bred and owned by Andrena Van Doren, would seem the most likely to keep Victoire Bataille honest. Although late runs have yielded her best results, Shaconage has been a pace factor in recent starts, and given what amounts to a class drop in this spot, she is strictly the one to beat.

This is the first year this race has been run as a grass route. It previously had been contested as a dirt sprint on the Gardenia undercard.

Debutante: Swept Gold formidable

Steve Flint was an assistant to his father, trainer Bernie Flint, when Swept Away was knocking out stakes wins in the late 1990's for the Klein family of Louisville. Now the younger Flint, who has been the Kleins' private trainer for several years, has a filly out of Swept Away looking to make her mark on the Kentucky racing scene.

Swept Gold, already with two terrific races to her credit, will be a solid favorite in the $75,000 Anna M. Fisher Debutante Stakes (race 7).

"If she can just go out there and be like her mom, take care of business, we should be in real good shape Saturday," said Flint.

Swept Gold, with Castanon named to ride, drew the outside post in a field of six 2-year-old fillies. After winning her June 19 debut at Churchill, she finished a troubled and highly creditable third behind Effectual in the July 9 Debutante.

"She ran huge in the Debutante," said Flint. "She got eliminated at the half-mile pole. She went from third to last in about 10 feet, but she still came home running. She maybe could have been second, but the winner is a real nice filly. All she has to do Saturday is go over there and do her job."

Bernie Flint might have the top threat to his son's emerging star in Idle Quest, who will have Corey Nakatani aboard when breaking from post 3 in the seven-furlong race.

* Besides the Big Four stakes, Ellis also is offering one overnight stakes, the $29,750 Bet on Sunshine (race 3). The six-furlong race drew six older horses, led by the speedy Danieltown and the consistent Private Horde.