07/31/2006 11:00PM

Procreate's grand past no help now


Considering the history of the Pennsylvania Governor's Cup Handicap, it's entirely appropriate that the 8-year-old Procreate is among the 14 older turf sprinters entered for Thursday evening's 34th running of Penn National's oldest and most prestigious stakes.

The Governor's Cup, which will be limited to 12 starters, goes as race 2 on a nine-race card.

In April 2005 at Gulfstream Park, Procreate, then trained by Penn National-based John Zimmerman, set a world record by covering five furlongs on turf in 53.79 seconds.

One of the horses whose name Procreate erased from the record book was Bop, who tied a world record winning the 2002 Governor's Cup in 54.61 seconds. That was also the first year the stakes was shortened in distance and its purse cut from $100,000 to $50,000.

In 1980, when the Governor's Cup was run at 1 1/16 miles, Told established a world record which still stands by covering the distance in 1:38.00.

Unfortunately for Procreate, his world-record performance and a win on dirt in the Claiming Crown Rapid Transit three months later were his high-water marks. Since then, he is 0 for 7 in turf sprints, including a distant fourth-place finish as the 7-5 favorite in last year's Governor's Cup.

Favoritism should be between Max West and Pisgah, who have split two decisions earlier this season.

Max West, owned and trained by the Philadelphia Park-based Juan Carlos Guerrero, won the $100,000 Turf Monster Handicap in late May, finishing 1 3/4 lengths in front of third-place Pisgah.

The 5-year-old Pisgah, whose connections of trainer Scott Lake and jockey Roberto Alvarado Jr. combined to win last year's Governor's Cup with Tacirring, defeated Max West by a half-length when they met in a five-furlong overnight stakes at Delaware Park on July 8.

In addition to Pisgah, Lake has a good shot with his other part of an uncoupled entry, Southern Missile. Although he didn't handle a yielding surface at Delaware last month, Southern Missile was sharp in the $94,000 Baltimore BC Turf Stakes on the Preakness undercard, finishing second as the 8-5 favorite.

Two others with good records at the distance are the 8-year-old Yankee Wildcat and the 4-year-old Beer Stien.

Yankee Wildcat, trained by Tim Tullock, finished second to Max West in the Turf Monster.

The King Leatherbury-trained Beer Stien is 5 for 8 in turf sprints, including a win over Max West last fall at Laurel Park.