10/05/2005 11:00PM

For Stream Cat, what's in a number?

For his visually impressive win in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile at Turfway, Stream Cat earned a relatively low Beyer Speed Figure of 73. The figures for the meet, run on the new Polytrack surface, were personally compiled by Andrew Beyer.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - The figure stands out, but for the wrong reason. In going last to first in a visually impressive victory in the Sept. 17 Kentucky Cup Juvenile at Turfway Park, Stream Cat earned a Beyer Speed Figure of just 73, a relatively low number that normally would make the colt an outsider Saturday in the Grade 1 Lane's End Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland.

But in at least one other critical respect, Stream Cat would seem to be one of the deserving favorites: From three career starts, he already has won two stakes, having captured a restricted stakes on the Saratoga turf two weeks before the Kentucky Cup.

Seven other 2-year-olds in the Breeders' Futurity can boast a career-high figure to equal or surpass Stream Cat's 73, and Andrew Beyer, the speed-figure guru whose numbers are a primary feature in Daily Racing Form past performances, said the colt will "have to improve mightily" to prevail Saturday in Grade 1 company.

"He ran a slow race any way you cut it," said Beyer, who took such a keen interest in the new Polytrack surface at Turfway that he personally compiled the figures throughout the fall meet that ended Thursday night. "I checked and rechecked the fig and found it to be accurate."

Trainer Patrick Biancone, who trains Stream Cat for an ownership group that includes retired basketball star Bobby Hurley, said the low Beyer Figure does not concern him.

"I never read the numbers," said Biancone. "I just have to know my horses. I think Stream Cat is going to have a good chance Saturday. Put it this way: Every horse that won the Kentucky Cup [Juvenile] has been a good horse," alluding to previous winners such as Editor's Note, Boston Harbor, Point Given, and Vindication. "I don't know why that would change this year."

Beyer said his overall impression of Turfway's new Polytrack surface, which was being used for racing purposes for the first time in North America, was that "it was a very fair racetrack without any bias, one way or another."

"The one thing that really stood out was that the track did change considerably in terms of raw times," he said. "The way it was talked about beforehand, that it was basically going to be the same day after day, I thought it would put us fig guys out of business.

"But from the first week to the second, it sped up almost two full seconds, and then it kind of bounced around thereafter," Beyer said. "There were some days when the track clearly got slower later in the day. So the notion that Polytrack is an unchangeable entity was not correct. It did undergo more variations than I would have expected."

Cool Conductor had throat surgery

Trainer Ralph Nicks was as puzzled as anyone to see his stable star, Cool Conductor, suddenly drop out of contention when the real running began in the Aug. 13 Arlington Million. But when Cool Conductor was found to have a flipped palate, Nicks was able to rationalize the 12-length defeat, and he expects improvement in Saturday's Grade 1 Shadwell Mile.

"He had a myectomy and another little procedure on his throat after the Million," said Nicks, who trains Cool Conductor for David Garner of Louisville. "He's trained really well the last few weeks. If we've got the fastest horse Saturday, then we'll be right there. That's what we're all looking to find out."