06/01/2006 11:00PM

Senior citizen Silver Bid still can sprint

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Benoit & Associates
High Expectations, 4 for 6 at Arlington, should be finishing fast in the seven-furlong Zen.

CHICAGO - Silver Bid keeps himself occupied between starts munching oats and hay, whinnying, looking around at stuff - you know, being a horse. It's trainer Joel Berndt who spends time looking over his shoulder, wondering how long this can last.

Silver Bid is 8, but except for a whitening gray coat, you wouldn't know it. After briefly slowing during the second part of last year, Silver Bid has come back into form in 2006, and heads into the summer atop, as usual, the Illinois-bred sprint division.

"He's doing super that son of a gun," said Berndt, who trains Silver Bid for owner Eugene Young. "He stays the same. All the miles we train him, he just stays good. His appetite's good, his attitude's good. And nothing really seems to move into his division. I keep waiting for some young horse to come up and take over, but it hasn't happened."

Silver Bid excels at six furlongs, but showed he could get seven winning the Zen Handicap two years ago. A speed duel cooked him in the 2005 Zen, but Silver Bid will try to win it again on Saturday. And though the $40,000 Zen is something of a prep race for the Prairie State Festival for Illinois-breds June 24, Berndt's not looking to leave anything on the table.

"Our goal is to win and worry about three weeks from now three weeks from now," he said.

Berndt said he was pleased to see the seven-horse Zen isn't loaded with speed; he hopes Silver Bid can control the pace. But Iron Rogue at least figures to show some pace from the rail, and late-running High Expectations might not need that help. Trained by Christine Janks, who has been all over the Arlington stakes map recently, High Expectations finished a fading fifth last out in the April 29 High Alexander, a two-turn race at Hawthorne. But at Arlington he has won 4 of 6 starts, and the way High Expectations excelled at a one-turn mile this time last year, seven furlongs should be well within range.

Barely Union Scale looks like an improving player in the Illinois-bred 3-year-old division, but would have to step way up to beat his older rivals in the Zen.

Minor throat surgery for Lewis Michael

Lewis Michael, the Arlington-based 3-year-old who almost upset the Peter Pan Stakes in his most recent start, was scheduled to have throat surgery Saturday in Kentucky to correct a breathing problem, but he is expected to be back at Arlington on Sunday, and still has a chance to make his next scheduled start in the $1 million Colonial Turf Cup on June 24 in Virginia.

Lewis Michael is suffering from an entrapped epiglottis. The surgery will free it and allow him to breathe properly during strenuous exercise.

"It works about 99 percent of the time," said trainer Wayne Catalano.

It was Catalano himself who detected something amiss on Wednesday morning, when he put Lewis Michael through his first workout since finishing a close second to Sunriver in the Peter Pan.

"I got on him myself today to make sure everything was in working order," Catalano said, "and I felt him not taking the air in like I thought he should. We scoped him when he got back to the barn, and he was entrapped."

Lewis Michael has had his airway examined by means of an endoscope several times in recent weeks, and never had suffered any sort of similar problem. Catalano hopes the whole situation remains fairly insignificant, and said Lewis Michael could be back in training in a week.

No Tolerance possible for Cornhusker

No Tolerance won the Mister Gus Stakes on turf here Monday, but could return to dirt in the July 2 Cornhusker Handicap at Prairie Meadows, trainer Mike Campbell said Thursday.

Campbell also said that Kid Grindstone, winner in his last start of the Fifth Season Breeders' Cup at Oaklawn, has recovered from a foot bruise that kept him out of action early this meet.

* Original Spin had her first workout Friday since a disastrous 3-year-old debut three months ago at Gulfstream, breezing an easy three furlongs. If all goes well, Original Spin could start June 24 against Illinois-breds in the Prairie State Festival.