07/21/2008 12:00AM

Phil the Power will try marathon again


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Heading into the 1 1/2-mile Greenwood Cup last Saturday at Philadelphia Park, trainer Joe Orseno was confident Phil the Power would love a three-turn race and felt he was slightly better on dirt than grass, where he has spent most of his career.

Turns out, Orseno was correct on both counts.

Phil the Power was no match for Evening Attire, the 8 1/4-length winner, in the Greenwood Cup, a Breeders' Cup Win and Your In race. But Phil the Power, the longest shot in the race at 30-1, was clearly the best of the rest, finishing 2 1/4 lengths in front of third-place finisher Barcola, the 7-5 favorite.

"He might not have been up to Evening Attire, who is a very classy old horse, but we handled everybody else," Orseno said.

The victory gave Evening Attire an automatic berth in the first running of Breeders' Cup Dirt Marathon in October at Santa Anita - and a possible rematch there with Phil the Power.

Following the Greenwood, Orseno nominated Phil the Power to the $100,000 Kelso Stakes at Delaware Park on Aug. 23, another 1 1/2-mile dirt marathon.

"I'm going to try and keep in that program and try and see if he moves forward off the race or stays the same," Orseno said. "These mile-and-a-half races are funny. You can't train for it. It's hard to get ready for it. You have to go on what you think you know about your horse. If he moves up, anything can happen. At a mile and a half, how many horses really want to do that?"

Orseno sounded like he was warming to the prospect of heading to California for the 12-furlong Breeders' Cup race on a synthetic surface.

"My horse is truly turf or dirt," Orseno said. "How many will truly go either way? The jury is still out on what kind of horses like the Polytrack. Turf horses have been known to like it, so I don't think it's a surface we have to worry about. I'm kind of looking forward to it."

Plesa mulls Haskell for Hey Byrn

Trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. is taking a wait-and-see attitude concerning Hey Byrn and the $1 million Haskell Invitational for 3-year-olds on Aug. 3.

Winner of the Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park, Hey Byrn is among 33 invited to the biggest race of the year at Monmouth.

"There are a lot of factors in play, such as who is going to be in it and how big a field," Plesa said.

Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown will be the likely headliner. Other possible runners include Cool Coal Man, Truth Rules, and Atoned.

Once the field comes into clearer focus, Plesa will discuss the Haskell with owner Bea Oxenberg. Plesa was hoping the colt would have gotten more out of his last race, the Long Branch Stakes on July 12. Hey Byrn finished 11 lengths behind Truth Rules in a trouble-filled trip in Monmouth's traditional prep for the Haskell.

"I was disappointed," Plesa said. "I'm not going to blame the horse and I'm not going to blame Joe Bravo. It was a very, very trouble-filled trip. He was trapped almost from start to finish.

"This horse never shook loose from down on the rail with horses in front of him and outside of him. I don't believe he had an opportunity to run his race."

Talkin About Love finds a spot

Kevin Sleeter, the owner, breeder and trainer, entered Talkin About Love twice for the Goldfinch Handicap for New Jersey-bred fillies and mares last weekend.

Both times the race didn't fill.

As a result, Talkin About Love, the winner of last year's Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks, wound up in Wednesday's featured optional $50,000 claimer.

The 4-year-old Talkin About Love, winless in two races this season, has had the scheduling blues. She was scratched from the Red Cross Stakes here early in the meet due to a very wet track. Now, no Goldfinch means no shot at the $100,000 Lady's Secret Stakes on the Haskell undercard.

"It's just too close now, running her Wednesday instead of last Saturday," Sleeter said. "She's ready to run."