01/26/2007 12:00AM

Potential buyers of 'Joe' all get an emphatic no


Phil Sims said he stopped counting after 63. That's how many phone calls he fielded from people saying they were interested in buying his stable star, Joe Got Even, a 3-year-old who figures to be the favorite next Saturday in the WEBN Stakes at Turfway Park.

"Obviously, there's been a whole lot of interest in the colt," said Sims.

Among Joe Got Even's five career starts are a Keeneland allowance victory, a fifth-place finish in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, and a runner-up finish in the Jan. 6 Turfway Prevue. He has posted three straight mid-80's Beyer Speed Figures, and his pedigree - he is by Stephen Got Even out of a Venezuelan-bred mare - suggests he will improve with more distance.

Joe Got Even was purchased privately for $25,000 after failing to meet his reserve bid at the 2005 Keeneland September yearling sales. The owners are Joe Vaudo and his girlfriend, Elizabeth Tobin, who live in Cape Cod, Mass.

"Mr. Vaudo hasn't even put a price on the colt, because once you turn down a big number, it seems like the horse always goes straight down after that," said Sims.

Joe Got Even is one of 37 nominees to the $50,000 WEBN, a one-mile race that kicks off Turfway's annual series of 3-year-old races. Sims, who is based at Keeneland, said he is hoping the colt will then proceed to the March 3 John Battaglia Memorial and then Turfway's showcase race, the March 24 Lane's End Stakes.

Double duty for Deegan, Gabriel

By working simultaneously as a trainer and jockey, Joe Deegan pulled off a racing rarity Jan. 19 when he saddled and rode Silverado Trail to a third-place finish in the ninth race at Turfway. It had been many years since anyone had performed that kind of double duty at a Kentucky track.

Incredibly, someone else was scheduled to ride the same horse she trains this weekend at Turfway: Toni Gabriel, the owner and trainer of Royal Rosanna, also was named to ride the 4-year-old filly in the seventh race here Saturday.

"I didn't even know Joe had done it until somebody just mentioned it to me," Gabriel said Friday morning. "I just decided to do it. I hadn't rode in a while, and I thought, 'Why not?' Everybody thinks I'm crazy, but I'm really excited about it."

Gabriel, a 39-year-old native of White Plains, N.Y., rode primarily in Kentucky for about two years in the early 1990's as Toni Beckelman. She then worked for nearly 10 years on a Louisiana farm, after which she turned to training at the racetrack in 2002. She has 31 wins from 226 starts in her training career.

Royal Rosanna, winless in 10 prior starts, was part of a full field entered in a maiden race Saturday.

Stakes winner in allowance

Two allowance races anchor the Sunday card at Turfway, with stakes-caliber horses competing in the eighth-race feature, a $27,900 mile with open conditions. Esprit du Roi, winner of the Dust Commander Stakes here last February, is a main contender in a field of nine older horses.

The secondary feature, the seventh race, is a $23,700 second-level allowance that drew a field of eight fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles.

* Three jockeys continue to battle atop the standings at the winter-spring meet, which began Jan. 1 and runs through April 5. Entering Friday's races, apprentice Alonso Quinonez held a narrow lead with 26 winners, followed by Miguel Mena with 24 and Julien Leparoux with 21.

* Turfway does not plan to make up any of the card that was canceled last Sunday because of icy weather, although the track has added an extra race every Friday through the end of the meet. Every Friday and Saturday card now comprises 12 races, whereas nine races is the standard for the other three days of the race week.