07/13/2003 11:00PM

Sweet repeat for Whitmore's Conn


ELMONT, N.Y. - It was a good plan last year, and it's still a good plan.

Whitmore's Conn, at 14-1, surprised in the 2002 Bowling Green Handicap, coming from far behind a slow pace under Shaun Bridgmohan. The Kris S. horse, then a 4-year-old, had signaled his good form in a prep race a few weeks earlier, closing furiously but failing to make an impression.

Fast-forward one year. Whitmore's Conn is 11-1 in the $150,000 Bowling Green. He hasn't won since last year's race but finished strongly in a recent prep. Once again the signal is unheeded - in the Bowling Green, he finishes full of run behind a slow pace under Jean-Luc Samyn, and Whitmore's Conn has another nice grass prize to his credit.

"We thought he would run well, because his race in the prep was good," trainer Randy Schulhofer says. "He also worked well. It is not coincidence. He is freshened during the winter and comes out sharp in the spring."

Whitmore's Conn, a winner of some $440,000, is owned by Michael and Lynn Shanley of Albany, N.Y. He is an attorney with real estate interests, principally shopping centers in New York and Massachusetts. They have been in racing 15 years, and one of their first good horses was Turk Passer, winner of the Bowling Green and the prestigious Turf Classic in 1994. The Shanleys purchased Whitmore's Conn privately as a 2-year-old, have seen him improve with age, and are looking forward to the Saratoga meeting and a possible engagement in the $500,000 Sword Dancer Handicap on Aug. 9.

Sharp Impact has sire's speed

Another top grass prospect to see action at Belmont Park over the weekend is Sharp Impact, a colt by the Brazilian star Siphon, who led all the way and prevailed by half a length over the well-regarded Hidden Truth in Sunday's $150,000 Lexington Handicap for 3-year-olds at 1 1/4 miles on the turf.

Deftly ridden by Richard Migliore, who has been in outstanding form all season, Sharp Impact stood up under pressure to get his mile and a quarter in 2:02.60.

Purchased as a yearling for $425,000 at the Fasig-Tipton July sales of 2001, Sharp Impact showed quality from the outset. In his second start, he won the Spectacular Bid Stakes at Arlington Park. He led in the subsequent Arlington-Washington Futurity but tired in the drive.

Sharp Impact then made an appearance in the UAE 2000 Guineas but gave way toward the finish. He was much sharper in a recent prep race for the Lexington, leading all the way to win.

Sharp Impact's sire, Siphon, won more than $3 million and came here from Brazil to capture the Santa Anita Handicap. Siphon, who assisted in stopping Cigar's streak at 16 stakes victories in the Pacific Classic, appears to have passed on much of his brilliant speed to Sharp Impact.