10/23/2006 11:00PM

Pletcher set for another record-breaking weekend


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Todd Pletcher could set yet another notable record Saturday when he runs A.P. Arrow as the likely favorite in the closing-day feature at the Keeneland fall meet, the $150,000 Fayette Stakes.

Pletcher, who already has set single-season records this year for total stakes wins and earnings, is only one graded stakes victory away from tying the single-year record of 53, set in 1987 by his former boss, D. Wayne Lukas. Pletcher could tie Lukas's milestone on Wednesday in Aqueduct's Grade 3 Discovery Handicap, and then make the record his own on Saturday.

The Grade 3 Fayette is one of only four graded stakes on Saturday in North America - the other three will be run at Aqueduct, where Pletcher also will be active - so Pletcher conceivably could be looking to break the graded stakes record in the Fayette, depending on the timing of, and how his stable fares in, the Grade 3 Sport Page, the Grade 3 Knickerbocker, and the Grade 2 First Flight at Aqueduct.

A.P. Arrow, a former Lukas trainee, finished second as the 6-5 favorite in his last start, the Grade 2 Hawthorne Gold Cup on Sept. 30. The 4-year-old colt is one of 11 prospective starters for the 1 1/8-mile Fayette.

Probables for the Fayette are: A.P. Arrow, Alumni Hall, Andromeda's Hero, Ball Four, Billy Allen, Go Now, Host, Kid Grindstone, Scipion, Seek Gold, and Southern Africa.

Rush Bay works over turf course

One prospect for the Nov. 4 Breeders' Cup was out for serious work Tuesday morning at Churchill Downs, while two more were active some 85 miles up the road at Keeneland.

Rush Bay, who Churchill Downs reported has been pre-entered in the BC Turf by trainer Tom Amoss, breezed five furlongs in 1:02.80 over a firm turf course. Unlike in non-Breeders' Cup years, when turf training is permitted only twice a week, Churchill is making the course available on a daily basis up until the Friday before the Breeders' Cup.

Meanwhile, over the Keeneland Polytrack, Asi Siempre went six furlongs in 1:12.40, handily, and Summerly breezed the same distance in 1:13.60. Both fillies are being pointed to the BC Distaff.

Iroquois, Pocahontas open meet

The Ack Ack Handicap has been the traditional opening-day feature of the Churchill fall meet, but with the Ack Ack set for the Breeders' Cup undercard, the reshuffling of the stakes schedule means the Iroquois and Pocahontas will help raise the curtain on Churchill's 21-day meet Sunday.

Both are Grade 3, $100,000 races to be run at a mile. Garrett Gomez might well be aboard the favorite in both spots, with Tiz Wonderful in the Iroquois and Change Up in the Pocahontas.

High Finance resumes training

High Finance has returned to light training at Keeneland after grabbing a quarter at the start of his last race, the Oct. 13 Perryville Stakes. He should be able to race again soon, said Jeff Lifson, director of Midwest operations for the colt's owners, West Point Thoroughbreds.

High Finance, trained by Rick Violette, finished fourth as the 5-2 favorite after getting away to an uncharacteristically sluggish start.

"He basically ran on three feet," said Lifson. "Thankfully, it looks like he's going to be okay."

Musical chairs for Pletcher runners

When Pletcher ships 17 horses, including most of his Breeders' Cup starters, from Belmont Park to his 36-stall barn at Churchill on Nov. 1, it means many of the stable's lesser lights currently at Churchill will have to go elsewhere.

Michael McCarthy, Pletcher's Churchill-based assistant, on Tuesday pulled out a rather complex diagram of how the Breeders' Cup will kick-start a major shifting of horses within the Pletcher empire.

"There's going to be a whole lot of moving around next week," he said .

* Seven 2-year-olds have been entered in the Friday feature at Keeneland, the $125,000 Bourbon Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on the turf. From the rail out, the field is Tacticality, Head to Toe, Marcavelly, Royal War Academy, Inca King, Twilight Meteor, and Admiral Bird.