11/13/2003 12:00AM

Spoilers await Pass Rush's return home


ANDERSON, Ind. - Indiana-bred Pass Rush will meet several familiar rivals when he returns to his home state for Saturday's $100,000-added Michael G. Schaefer Mile.

Waiting to spoil his homecoming is last year's Schaefer winner, Crafty Shaw, who defeated Pass Rush by a neck in a Churchill Downs allowance race Nov. 4, and Cappuchino, a two-length winner over Pass Rush in the Grade 3 Ack Ack Handicap at Churchill on Oct. 26.

The nine-horse Schaefer field possesses an abundance of speed, which should work to the advantage of Pass Rush - if he rates just off what promises to be a hot early pace. Jose Martinez Jr. will be in to ride for trainer Patrick Byrne from post 1.

Pass Rush's lone win this year came in January, in the Grade 2 San Fernando Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita. But he has rarely been off the board since then, and has earned over a quarter-million dollars this year. His back-to-back runner-up efforts at Churchill Downs should have him primed for a top effort.

Crafty Shaw has three wins this year, including the Grade 3 Turfway Park Fall Championship. He might be favored in the Schaefer based on his recent Churchill win. Craig Perret has the mount for trainer Peter Vestal from post 5.

Cappuchino has two stakes victories this year. In addition to the Ack Ack, he won the Joseph T. Grace Handicap at Santa Rosa in August. Jon Court will be in to ride for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer from post 4.

Crafty Shaw and Cappuchino have done the majority of their running on the lead, and Patton's Victory, Cool N Collective, and Wild Lies will likely be throwing their best punches early also. Indiana-bred Mr. Mink, a 3-year-old making his most ambitious career start, will also be a factor early off a front-running five-length win in the Benjamin Harrison Stakes here Oct. 25.

Edgerrin tops Indiana Futurity

Also Saturday is the $70,000-added Indiana Futurity for 2-year-old statebreds.

Edgerrin, trained by Jeff Jones, was an impressive winner in his career debut here Nov. 6. After losing ground in a bumping incident at the start, he rallied to the lead in midstretch and drew off under wraps for a 6 1/2-length win in the quick time of 1:11.82 for six furlongs. He once again will be ridden by Tommy Pompell.

Gearbox has done nothing wrong in his two starts here this year, winning his maiden by 7 1/2 lengths in August, then drawing off to win the Hillsdale Stakes by five lengths in early October. Rodney Prescott has the ride for trainer David Pate.