08/11/2005 11:00PM

The Potters Hand tough on turf

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The Potters Hand was struggling in low-level claiming races when trainer Marie Vaught decided to try him on the turf in May. The change in surface breathed new life in The Potters Hand, who has registered 2 wins and 2 third-place finishes in 5 grass starts at River Downs this summer.

Three weeks removed from a turf allowance win over the champion statebred Ben's Reflection, The Potters Hand is poised to add a stakes win to his resume Sunday in the $40,000 Buckeye Native for accredited Ohio-breds at River Downs.

The Buckeye Native, at 1 1/16 miles on the turf, figures to be an easier assignment than The Potters Hand's last stakes try, the Sydney Gendelman Memorial on June 19. In the Gendelman, The Potters Hand rated close to the pace but faded to fourth, 10 lengths behind Devil Time, a former Ohio horse of the year. No horse of that quality was entered in the Buckeye Native, and on the basis of The Potters Hand's recent open allowance victory, where he rated more kindly in the opening furlongs, he looks like the horse to beat.

Brooks Blach and Hero Act, second and third in the Horizon Stakes for 3-year-olds last month, also figure prominently, though their front-running tendencies may undermine each other's chances.

Should the Buckeye Native be switched to the main track, Dawn's Revenge and Quiet Soul would merit a look. Dawn's Revenge comes off his best race in over 10 months, a second in a nonwinners-of-four allowance going a mile.

Quiet Soul, stakes placed at Beulah last fall, has run second four times in open first-level allowances this season. Though he has not started since early June, Quiet Soul should appreciate the stretchout from six furlongs.