10/20/2003 11:00PM

Quest formidable foe for Tenpins


LEXINGTON, Ky. - At least it won't be a walkover. Tenpins will be a heavy favorite Saturday at Keeneland when the Fayette Stakes helps bring down the curtain on the 17-day fall meet, but as many as six opponents, including the highly capable colt Quest, are set to oppose him in the Grade 3 race.

Tenpins is the defending champion in the Fayette, a $150,000 race that is run under allowance conditions. When trainer Don Winfree announced last week that Tenpins would bypass the Breeders' Cup Classic and point to the Fayette and Nov. 28 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs, it seemed that Keeneland stakes coordinator Dan Bork would have a difficult time finding a worthy set of challengers for Tenpins.

That hasn't exactly been the case. Not only was Quest good enough to finish second behind Mineshaft in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup in his last start, but Nick Zito, who trains the 4-year-old colt for breeder-owner Arthur Hancock, has enjoyed a sensational fall at Keeneland and is a virtual cinch to win the training title.

"It has been a great run for us, knock wood," said Zito. "Hopefully we can cap everything off by getting Quest to win."

Tenpins will be ridden by Robby Albarado, while Quest will have Shane Sellers aboard.

Other likely starters for the 1 1/8-mile Fayette are Changeintheweather, trained by Graham Motion; Country Be Gold, Reynaldo Nobles; M B Sea, Dale Romans; Seattle Fitz, Kiaran McLaughlin; and Sonic West, Tom Van Berg.

Gates on Saturday will open at 11 a.m., with the first of four live races scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Eastern. Drive-through wagering will open at 8. As usual, Keeneland officials are expecting a large crowd for Breeders' Cup Day.

Five listed as probable for Ack Ack

At least five older horses are likely for the Ack Ack Handicap, according to Donnie Richardson, Churchill Downs senior vice president for racing. The Grade 3 race helps to open the Churchill fall meet Sunday.

Probable starters for the 7 1/2-furlong Ack Ack are Pass Rush, Danthebluegrassman, Cappucino, Apt to Be, and the defending champion, Twilight Road.

The 27-day Churchill meet runs through Nov. 29.

Casual Look possible for Cardinal

Trainer Neil Howard said that Casual Look, third in the Oct. 11 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup in her U.S. debut, could make her next start against older fillies and mares in the Nov. 22 Cardinal at Churchill. Casual Look also is eligible for the Nov. 15 Mrs. Revere, which is restricted to 3-year-old fillies.

"We're only looking at the Cardinal because this filly needs the extra distance," said Howard. "The Cardinal is 1 1/8 miles, and the Mrs. Revere is 1 1/16 miles. If the Mrs. Revere was 1 1/8 miles, then obviously we'd go in there, but you can't have your cake and eat it, too."

The purse for both the Grade 2 Mrs. Revere and Grade 3 Cardinal is $150,000.

* Honor in War, the Shadwell Mile runner-up who was declared from the BC Mile because of a wrenched ankle, was scheduled to return to the track Wednesday at Churchill after missing eight days of training. Honor in War, a 4-year-old Lord at War colt owned by 3rd Turn Stables, has been withdrawn from the Keeneland breeding stock sale next month at Keeneland, said Will Wolford, managing partner for 3rd Turn.