03/12/2004 1:00AM

Record denied as timer fails


Private Horde, making his first start since a ninth-place finish in the Oct. 25 Breeders' Cup Sprint, appeared to set a track record Wednesday night at Turfway Park, but the mark will not be recognized because of a timer malfunction, according to Bob Elliston, the track's president.

After racing to a comfortable two-length win as the 1-2 favorite in a $40,000 allowance, Private Horde momentarily had the track record for 6 1/2 furlongs by finishing in 1:13.95 over a racing strip that yielded fast times throughout the program.

But Elliston said the timer employed at the Florence, Ky., track told him immediately after the race that "something tripped the automated system, and when he tried to override it, he believes he missed it by several jumps." Elliston declined to name the employee and said no determination had been made about what set off the automated system prematurely.

Elliston said Friday that after a thorough investigation of the incident and discussions with Mickey Sample, the state steward at Turfway, and officials at the Equibase data collection service, he was "very comfortable that the horse did not approach a track record."

Equibase and Daily Racing Form charts of the race show "n/a," or not available, for the fractional and final times. "Equibase said it is always their preference to use 'time not available' in the case of a malfunction, and that's the protocol we're going to follow," Elliston said.

The Turfway record for the distance remains 1:14.32, set on Dec. 30, 1995, by Boone's Mill.

Meanwhile, Joe Cain, who trains Private Horde on his private farm in southern Kentucky for owner Billy Tucker, said the 5-year-old horse came out of the race in excellent shape and will make his next start in the April 8 Count Fleet at Oaklawn Park or the April 10 Commonwealth Breeders' Cup at Keeneland. The May 1 Churchill Downs Handicap will follow either race, Cain said.

Cain said he was ambivalent about Private Horde not being acknowledged with the Turfway track record. Cain said he believes the horse is "extremely capable" of posting very fast times, "but as long as he keeps running that way and winning, it doesn't really matter."

Private Horde, a homebred by Brunswick, now has won 10 of 25 starts and more than $512,000. His richest win came last summer in the Grade 2 Vanderbilt Handicap at Saratoga.

Birdstone talk of the town

Birdstone continues to dominate prerace speculation about the makeup of the field for the Grade 2, $500,000 Lane's End Stakes, the Turfway showcase that will be run Saturday.

Besides Birdstone, the Nick Zito-trained standout who will be making his second start of the year, the field also is expected to include Silver Minister, the winner of all three Turfway prep races leading to the 1 1/8-mile Lane's End. Other probables include Little Matth Man, Song of the Sword, "and quite a few on the fence," said Randy Wehrman, Turfway's stakes coordinator. "We're still hoping to get a couple of horses from top outfits."

Five other stakes also will be run Saturday on what always is easily the best program of the long winter-spring meet at Turfway. The undercard will include the $150,000 Bourbonette Breeders' Cup for 3-year-old fillies and the $100,000 Rushaway, a secondary race for 3-year-old colts and geldings. First post is 12:30 p.m. Eastern.

The Lane's End will be carded as the eighth of 12 races and will be televised live by ESPN2 on a one-hour show starting at 3:30 p.m. Eastern.

Anderson's commute pays off

Winters can get long and tiresome for Roger Anderson. The one-way commute to Turfway takes more than three hours from Anderson's farm, which is located just south of the Kentucky state line about 20 miles north of Nashville, Tenn.

But a proverbial ray of sunshine came into Anderson's routine this week: The trainer saddled two winners Wednesday night when French Account rallied to win the third race and Gamble Les led all the way in the 10th.

Anderson, a former Quarter Horse trainer, enjoyed some of the finest moments of his career three years ago at Turfway in 1991 when Bonnie Scot won the President Stakes and John Battaglia Memorial. Bonnie Scot, owned by Nashville restaurateur Bill Kelly, subsequently ran third in the Lane's End before having a fatal breakdown in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland.

* Turfway has announced that purse supplements from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund have been increased by 15 percent for all maiden-special and allowance races, effective Wednesday through the end of the meet, April 1.