11/28/2005 12:00AM

Stall applications at record


Rockport Harbor and Round Pond are among the 200 horses already stabled at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., which opened for training about a week earlier than usual this year, on Nov. 22. The number of horses on the grounds is expected to double in the next week or so because of the completion of the Churchill Downs meet, said Terry Wallace, a spokesman for Oaklawn.

"Some of the Kentucky guys will be shipping in this week," Wallace said Monday.

Oaklawn has received requests to accommodate a record 3,000 horses, said Wallace. The stable area has 1,500 stalls. Among the new faces expected for the meet are trainer Dan Peitz, a former Oaklawn regular, who for the past few years had been based at Fair Grounds, which is running an abbreviated meet at Louisiana Downs this year in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Peitz is already settled in at Oaklawn, as is trainer Larry Jones, who arrived in mid-November after a tornado hit his base of Ellis Park in Henderson, Ky. Trainer Jinks Fires is also now at Oaklawn, and so is John Servis, who trains Rockport Harbor and Round Pond, winner of this year's Grade 1 Acorn. Servis has 22 horses in Hot Springs and also has a division at Philadelphia Park.

Rockport Harbor on Saturday breezed three furlongs in 36 seconds, said Servis. (Published works at the track are not yet available, with the meet not set to start until Jan. 20.)

"That was his first work back," said Servis. "I'm tickled to death."

Servis said he was particularly pleased with how Rockport Harbor galloped out. The trainer said he caught him going four furlongs in 48.40 seconds, and five furlongs in 1:02.60. Rockport Harbor, winner of last year's Grade 2 Remsen, has not raced since April. He was given time off to allow his foot to grow out, and he figures to be a force in the handicap division.

Until the Oaklawn season begins, Servis and others will be sending horses from Hot Springs to race at Louisiana Downs, which will conduct the Fair Grounds meet through Jan. 22. Churchill Downs, which owns Fair Grounds, began offering a free horse shuttle from Hot Springs to Bossier City, La., last Thursday.