02/03/2005 12:00AM

Snack tries two turns in WEBN Frog


Frog Day is somewhat akin to Groundhog Day. It serves to remind Kentucky horseplayers that, yes, it's still early February and still wintertime at Turfway Park - but it won't be that much longer until spring arrives, and with it the better races for 3-year-olds.

The WEBN Frog Stakes will be run Saturday at Turfway in Florence, Ky., and although the $50,000 race seems a shadow of richer events here next month, it nevertheless is a signal to Kentucky fans that help is on the way. Nine horses, headed by a stretch-running Indiana-bred named Snack, are entered in the one-mile Frog, the first two-turn race in Turfway's annual series for 3-year-olds.

Snack, a chestnut colt by Afternoon Deelites, will be going for his third straight victory when breaking from post 5 under Ramsey Zimmerman.

"People keep asking me, 'What about him going two turns?' " said Mike Lauer, the trainer who, with his wife, Penny, bred and owns the colt. "And I just tell them we'll have to wait and see how he does. I'm looking at Saturday and no further."

Snack rallied from far back in his last start, the Jan. 8 Turfway Prevue, powering to a 3 1/4-length victory. The 6 1/2-furlong Prevue came two months after he won the Indiana Futurity to end his 2-year-old year.

"It's nothing I've done to make him run like that, from way behind," said Lauer. "That's just the way he's developed. Obviously I'd like to see him be able to do it in the longer races. Do I think he can get any better? Sure I do. But that's what we're going up there for Saturday."

Besides Snack, the Frog also drew Truly Native, the beaten favorite in the Prevue; Catch Me, a Pat Byrne-trainee who was a seven-length maiden winner here in December; Southside Johnny B, whose trainer, Greg Foley, has won the last two Frogs with Champali and Silver Minister; and a filly, Flexible Princess.

The rest of the field is Cat Shaker, Full of Fun, Safe Place, Dash of Class, and Visionary.

The Frog leads to the $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial March 5 and the $500,000 Lane's End Stakes on March 26.

The purse for the Frog includes $10,000 in Kentucky-bred bonuses, meaning several horses bred elsewhere, including Snack, will be competing Saturday for a maximum of $40,000.

WEBN (102.7 FM) is a Cincinnati-area radio station that uses a frog as its mascot and emblem.