09/22/2005 12:00AM

Silverfoot sharp for turf duel


The land on which Kentucky Downs is situated is rich in American history, having been used for a brief period as a site for duels with pistols.

Horse trainer Dallas Stewart knows a little about history at Kentucky Downs, because it was on the same parcel of land, on Sept. 13, 1998, that Stewart sent out a colt named Kimberlite Pipe, ridden by Randy Romero, to win a six-furlong maiden race. Kimberlite Pipe went on to win the Louisiana Derby and more than $880,000 in purses.

Saturday, when the Kentucky Cup turf series is run for the eighth time at Kentucky Downs, Stewart will be trying to make a little more history. He will give jockey Rafael Bejarano a leg up on a long-striding gray named Silverfoot in the $200,000 , a Grade 3 race that highlights the biggest day of racing at the turf-only track in Franklin, Ky.

In his last start, Silverfoot finished an uncharacteristically dull seventh in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer at Saratoga. Stewart firmly believes the race can be forgiven.

"He just didn't fire that day," said Stewart. "All I know is that since then he's trained good. He looks good. The Saratoga race was his only bad one this year. I've got to think he's going to run a whole lot better Saturday."

Silverfoot, owned by Stephanie Clark, was narrowly defeated when second to Better Talk Now two starts back in the Grade 1 United Nations. A similar effort surely would make him a major factor in what shapes up as a competitive race, with the other main contenders being Habaneros and Pellegrino, both in from Southern California, and Rochester, who will make a fourth straight start in the KC Turf, having won it in 2002 and 2003.

At 1 1/2 miles, the KC Turf is a once-around race over the undulating, asymmetrical course at Kentucky Downs. It is carded as the 14th of 16 races on a melded program that consists of six races from Kentucky Downs and 10 from sister track Turfway Park.

Two other Kentucky Cup races, the $100,000 Turf Dash (race 9) and $100,000 Ladies Turf (race 12) also will be run Saturday at Kentucky Downs. First post at Turfway is 1:10 p.m. Eastern.