05/12/2004 11:00PM

Private Horde has work cut out


After tangling with nationally renowned sprinters Lion Tamer and Speightstown in Kentucky in his last two starts, Private Horde seeks what would seem to be easy pickings in West Virginia.

Saturday's six-furlong Waterford Park Handicap at Mountaineer Race Track came up far stronger than the track's usual $75,000 stakes, however.

Three other sprinters who earned triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures in their most recent start figure to make Private Horde work hard in his bid to win the Waterford for the second straight year. And if the 5-year-old Private Horde is at anything less than his best, he could be beaten by Cat Genius, Implicit, or Sassy Hound.

The 103 Beyer that Private Horde earned when he lost by less than a length to Lion Tamer two starts ago in the Grade 2 Commonwealth Breeders' Cup at Keeneland isn't even the highest in the Waterford field. Cat Genius, a winner of 6 of 14 starts, got a 106 for his wire-to-wire victory in the $125,000 Pelletieri Breeders' Cup Handicap at Fair Grounds in mid-March.

Maryland shippers Implicit and Sassy Hound are also in sharp form.

Implicit, cutting back to six furlongs for the first time in his 14-race career, responded with a personal best 103 Beyer for his 3 1/2-length victory against high-priced optional claimers at Pimlico.

The 7-year-old Sassy Hound returned from a lengthy layoff to win the six-furlong Fire Plug with a 100 Beyer at Pimlico on April 10.

Ohio-based sprinter Frankie R's Winner has been first or second in 10 of 17 starts at Mountaineer, including a close second to Private Horde as a 23-1 longshot in last year's Waterford.

The field also includes Run Zeal Run, who upset the five-furlong Panhandle Handicap two weeks ago; the 23-time winner Secret Romeo, in from Great Lakes Downs; and Lord de Ville, who steps up in class after winning four in a row at Gulfstream and Thistledown.