03/18/2005 1:00AM

Proud Accolade will start in Rushaway

Gary I. Rothstein/EQUI-PHOTOS
Proud Accolade, winning the Hutcheson, has pulled out of the Lane's End in favor of the Rushaway.

Trainer Todd Pletcher has decided to run Proud Accolade in the $100,000 Rushaway Stakes next Saturday at Turfway Park instead of the track's marquee event, the $500,000 Lane's End Stakes.

Pletcher said he made the decision because Proud Accolade only recently got over a minor illness that forced the colt to miss the March 12 Louisiana Derby, and he wanted a race easier than the Lane's End. Pletcher also said the 1 1/16-mile distance of the Rushaway is preferable to that of the Lane's End, which is a sixteenth of a mile longer.

Jerry Bailey will have the mount on Proud Accolade, who was an impressive winner of the Feb. 5 Hutcheson at Gulfstream Park in his last start. A Yes it's True colt owned by Padua Stables, Proud Accolade spiked a fever March 5, forcing him to miss several days of training at Palm Meadows in south Florida.

John Velazquez normally rides Proud Accolade, but will be in Dubai on Saturday, when the Lane's End, the Rushaway, and three other stakes will be run at Turfway.

Pletcher still will be represented in the Lane's End, which he won in 2001 (when the race was known as the Spiral Stakes) with Balto Star, whose 12-length win is the largest margin of victory in the 33 runnings of the race. Pletcher said he probably will run Flower Alley or Monarch Lane, both of whom have one win from two starts.

With Proud Accolade out, the Grade 2 Lane's End could have Spanish Chestnut and Magna Graduate as the favorites in a field of at least nine 3-year-olds.

With known jockey assignments, these are the prospects for the Lane's End: Spanish Chestnut, Gary Stevens; Magna Graduate, Jerry Bailey; Mr Sword, Norberto Arroyo Jr.; Silent Bid, Jose Valdivia Jr.; Texcess, Rene Douglas; Andromeda's Hero, Rafael Bejarano; Mayan King, Joe Bravo; either Flower Alley or Monarch Lane; and either Wild Desert or Diamond Isle from the Ken McPeek stable.

Besides Proud Accolade, who figures as a huge favorite, the Rushaway may get five or six more starters, according to Turfway stakes coordinator Randy Wehrman. Those challengers include Catch Me, Daddy Joe, Maddy's Lion, and Pinpoint.

The Lane's End and Rushaway will be televised live on a one-hour broadcast on ESPN. Coverage begins at 4:30 p.m. Eastern and will also include replays of the Dubai World Cup and UAE Derby.

The other Saturday stakes are the $150,000 Bourbonette Breeders' Cup, the $50,000 Queen, and the $50,000 Hansel.