01/19/2006 12:00AM

Polytrack has been Reed's kind of surface


FLORENCE, Ky. - Eric Reed believes the surface might have been a tad too heavy when his emerging stable star, Mighty Martha, incurred her first defeat over Polytrack at Turfway Park last month.

"She got caught up in a speed duel on a day when speed was having a real hard time," said Reed.

But Reed would never be one to criticize Polytrack - no way. Not only was Reed the trainer of the first-ever winner over Polytrack in North America, when Regal Reproach won Sept. 7 at Turfway, but his stable's numbers are the best they have ever been in 21 years of training.

Reed, 41, has been a major proponent and user of the Polytrack surface that Keeneland installed on its five-furlong training track in September 2004, and whether it's a coincidence or not, Reed enjoyed his two most productive years in 2004 and 2005. The stable won 37 races and $627,664 in 2004, then surpassed those totals with 46 wins and $765,727 last year.

Reed said he and some of his clients have shifted philosophies and are now keeping considerably more horses to race, rather than sell, as they had done for years. One horse whom Reed is happy he kept is Mighty Martha, a Chester House filly who figures to be the filly to beat Saturday in the $50,000 Cincinnati Trophy Stakes at Turfway.

Reed said owner Daniel Pitzo has turned down "a lot" of offers for Mighty Martha, whose lone defeat in three career starts came as the odds-on favorite in the Dec. 26 Gowell Stakes at Turfway. "She's a real nice filly, and we're sure hoping she can get the job done Saturday," said Reed, a Lexington native and resident who has 28 horses at Keeneland and 50 more (including 32 2-year-olds) at the Victory Haven training center.

, a winner of her last two starts, both at Turfway.

The feature is directly preceded by a one-mile allowance race in which five of the eight fillies entered were nominated to the Cincinnati Trophy.

First post is 1:10 p.m. Eastern.