07/20/2006 11:00PM

Shermanesque to miss Sanford because of bruise

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Shermanesque, the Fusaichi Pegasus colt who led into deep stretch in the July 8 Bashford Manor Stakes at Churchill Downs before being overtaken by a torrid inside run from Circular Quay, will miss the Sanford Stakes on Thursday at Saratoga because of a recent setback but should be able to race by mid-meet, said trainer Tony Reinstedler.

"He had a stone bruise and kind of scared me, but everything's fine now, and he's back in training," said Reinstedler, who already is in Saratoga with eight horses he had shipped this week from Churchill.

Shermanesque earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 81 when he finished 1 1/4 lengths behind Circular Quay in the Bashford Manor, which was his only race following a 2 1/4-length debut victory. Reinstedler said the colt likely will run in an entry-level allowance race or the Aug. 17 Saratoga Special, with the Sept. 4 Hopeful being a tentative goal.

Shermanesque is owned by the Willmott Stables Inc. of Peter Willmott, a retired Federal Express executive who was born in Glens Falls, N.Y., and is a fixture every summer at Saratoga.

Reinstedler's Saratoga string also includes Gouldings Green, who runs next in the Grade 3 Chinese Cultural Centre Stakes next Sunday, July 30, at Woodbine.

Colt draws attention

While prospective buyers continue to make serious inquiries about Unbridled Express, the 2-year-old colt was scheduled to work Saturday at Churchill, after which trainer Bernie Flint would make a decision whether to ship to Saratoga for the Sanford.

"There has been a lot of interest from people looking into buying the colt," said Flint. "But it's kind of hard to put a price on one who's only run a couple times."

Unbridled Express, by Unbridled's Song, earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 90 in winning his second start, a July 9 maiden race at Churchill. The colt is owned in partnership by Flint and two of his longtime clients, Tom Conway and Ron Hillerich.

Guilty verdict in Derby ticket case

The ticket-scalping case that made local headlines during the week leading up to the May 6 Kentucky Derby was settled Thursday when pawnbroker and jeweler Bruce Gumer was found guilty of 84 ticket-scalping violations in Jefferson Circuit Court.

Gumer entered an Alford plea, meaning he maintained his innocence while conceding that prevailing evidence could have led to a conviction. Gumer agreed to pay more than $10,000 in fines and forfeitures.

The ticket-scalping case received local attention during Derby week, when the police seized 419 Derby and Oaks tickets, and some $6,000 in cash, from Gumer's store. A judge ordered the tickets and money returned to Gumer before the Derby, and the tickets were distributed in what Gumer's attorney, Scott Cox, described as "a lawful way."

Churchill officials have said their own investigation into the scalping matter is still ongoing.

Lawyer Ron puts in bullet work

Lawyer Ron, the $1.2-million earner who had a chip removed from a hind ankle shortly after a 12th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, had his first workout this week since the surgery. Over a fast Churchill strip, the colt breezed a swift three furlongs Thursday in 34.20 seconds, the fastest of 13 timed works at the distance.

Trainer Bob Holthus has projected September as the general time period during which Lawyer Ron should be ready for a race.

Packed house endured a scorcher

The opening-day attendance on Wednesday at Ellis Park was a record for the Henderson, Ky., track, and the 5,248 who turned out did so amid demanding conditions. In virtually every corner of the open-air grandstand, and even in air-conditioned areas of the clubhouse, the searing heat and humidity was at times unbearable, as the heat index soared past the 100-degree mark even before the first of 10 races was run.

Ellis officials attributed the strong turnout to a combination of factors, including curiosity about the major renovations the track underwent in the aftermath of a November tornado that ravaged Ellis and the surrounding region, along with the publicity concerning the impending sale of the track to Louisville businessman Ron Geary.

Zipping right along

How fast was the Ellis main track playing on opening day?

Hoho Tow, racing under $5,000 starter-allowance conditions, lowered the track record for five furlongs by more than a full second by winning the third race in 56.46 seconds. One race later, Flank Drive set a record for 5 1/2 furlongs by winning in 1:03.36.

The track surface was completely renovated as part of the rebuilding efforts following the tornado.

Dime super a 10-grand thing

A superfecta payout worth $201,439 for a $2 wager was posted Thursday at Ellis, although in reality there were only three 10-cent winners, each worth $10,072, sold on the race.

The entire pool for the seventh-race superfecta was $38,821. Two of the three dime winners were sold in New Jersey and the other through TVG.

Starspangled Gator returns

The Sunday feature at Ellis is a $23,500, second-level allowance in which Starspangled Gator and Kings Challenge figure to vie for favoritism in a field of six 3-year-olds and upward.

Starspangled Gator, trained by Bill Gowan, will be making his first start since finishing 12th and last in the March 25 Lane's End Stakes at Turfway Park. Before that, the colt won back-to-back Turfway races.