07/03/2008 12:00AM

Rivelli brings 'monster' to the ball


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The Bashford Manor Stakes long has been a launching pad for some terrific 2-year-olds. Some flame out soon thereafter, while some go on to succeed in longer and richer races.

Eight juveniles will be trying to get through and beyond that crossroads when they clash Saturday in the 107th running of the $100,000 Bashford Manor at Churchill Downs. My Dominick James, a Chicago invader who earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 93 in winning his first and only race, will be one of the favorites in the Grade 3 fixture.

"I think he's a monster, to be honest," said trainer Larry Rivelli, who co-bred and co-owns My Dominick James, an Illinois-bred gray gelding.

With Tim Thornton in to ride, My Dominick James will break from post 4 in the six-furlong Bashford Manor, the 10th of 11 Saturday races. Six of his seven rivals also come off victories, most notably Theregoesjojo, an impressive come-from-behind winner of his May 26 debut at Churchill, and Lyin' Heart, a two-time winner in as many starts in Texas.

My Dominick James captured his June 8 debut, a 4 1/2-furlong race at Arlington Park, by 2 3/4 lengths. Afterward, offers to purchase him came flooding in, but when the prospective

buyers found out he was a gelding - and not a colt, as had been listed in a clerical error - "they kind of cooled off," said Rivelli.

That's fine, said Rivelli. Although his flashy triumph came on Polytrack, My Dominick James "has really good action, like it'll be conducive to dirt track," he said. "He just skips right over the ground." As for going longer, "his breeding doesn't suggest routing, but the way the horse trains in the morning, you can just tell he's a good horse."

Lyin' Heart, winner of a restricted stakes at Lone Star Park in his last start June 7, is trained by Steve Asmussen, who has won two of the last four runnings of the Bashford Manor with Lunarpal (2004) and Kodiak Kowboy (2007).

The rest of the Bashford Manor field is Screen Your Friend, Silver Bayer, Segal, General Quarters, and Medaglia d'Onore.

The Saturday card will start with a high-end allowance for fillies and mares. Change Up

and Taletobetold are the favorites in a $50,400 opener scheduled for five furlongs on the turf. Post time is 1:15 p.m. Eastern.

The 52-day spring meet closes Sunday with the Grade 3 Locust Grove Handicap.