05/28/2007 11:00PM

Scorpius tries to rebound


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Darley Stable has been more prominent than usual at the Churchill Downs spring meet, and not just because representatives of the worldwide powerhouse have been frequent visitors at the Carl Nafzger barn. Trainer Eoin Harty has a small string of runners active at the meet, including a good-looking 3-year-old named Past the Point, an impressive winner of a maiden race here Sunday.

One of Darley's top sires is Street Cry, the sire of Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, which helps to partly explain why the Darley folks have been so visible at Barn 26, where Street Sense is stabled. On a less conspicuous level, Harty, the former longtime assistant to Bob Baffert, has already won two races at the meet for Darley, owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, and he will be going for a third when the eighth-race feature is run here Thursday.

Harty, who also has a string of horses in Southern California, will be represented by Scorpius in the Churchill feature, a $50,000 first-level allowance. Scorpius, with Calvin Borel to ride, will break from post 6 when facing seven other 3-year-olds and upward in the six-furlong race.

Scorpius served immediate notice that he could be any kind when he earned a 92 Beyer Speed Figure in winning his career debut on Feb. 9 at Gulfstream Park. The 4-year-old Scorpius regressed in his lone subsequent start on April 12 at Keeneland, but his 11th-place finish might be partly explained by the fact early runners were not faring particularly well on Polytrack early in the Keeneland meet.

Duly regrouped in the interim at Keeneland, where Darley's Kentucky string is currently based, Scorpius would figure very tough with any semblance of a repeat of his Gulfstream debut.

For main challengers, Scorpius will be opposed by Art and Soul, a recent winner at the $50,000 claiming level for trainer Rick Hiles; Lumberjack Cat, a new Dave Vance acquisition who was a decent fifth at this same allowance level last out; Classic Robbery, a game winner of a recent maiden-claiming event for trainer Bernie Flint; and Three Twenty Three, winner of a maiden special race at Keeneland two starts back for trainer Warren King.

Rounding out the field are My Unbridled and The Bell Tolls.

The feature is part of the weekly handicapping contest held in the Churchill Downs Lounge.