11/08/2005 12:00AM

Sweet Talker's status hinges on sale


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - If you asked racing fans to guess the next time Churchill Downs will run a stakes race on the dirt, most of them probably would be surprised to know that the correct answer is: not until Thanksgiving Day.

The next four stakes at Churchill all will be run on turf, as will, for good measure, the next three races in the overnight stakes program. The first of those grass races comes this weekend, when the Grade 2 Mrs. Revere and the Pent Up Kiss are run Saturday, and the Commonwealth Turf is run Sunday.

The $150,000 Mrs. Revere, for 3-year-old fillies, might mark the return of Sweet Talker, winner of the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup in her last start - or it might not. Sweet Talker, owned by Eliah and Lisa Kahn, was scheduled to sell Wednesday at the Keeneland breeding stock sale, but if her reserve price was not attained, "we're running," said trainer Helen Pitts.

"I trained her Monday and sent her up to Keeneland that afternoon," said Pitts. "If she doesn't sell, we will have her back to train Thursday and Friday, then run Saturday."

If Sweet Talker runs, she figures as the favorite in the 1 1/16-mile Mrs. Revere off her Grade 1 win. A sizable field is likely.

The five-furlong Pent Up Kiss, one of six overnight stakes at the meet with the oddball purse of $70,800, is for older fillies and mares.

The $150,000 Commonwealth Turf, for 3-year-old colts and geldings, also is expected to get a big field for its second running Sunday.

The turf stakes here the following weekend are the Grade 3 Cardinal on Nov. 19 and Grade 3 River City on Nov. 20.

Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 24, launches the final three-day stretch of the meet with the Grade 2 Falls City Handicap. The $300,000 Falls City is one of four graded stakes, all on dirt, on closing weekend. The others are the Grade 2, $500,000 Clark Handicap on Nov. 25, and the twin 2-year-old stakes, the $200,000 Golden Rod and $200,000 Kentucky Jockey Club, on Nov. 26.

Martin hobbled after car crash

Jockey Eddie Martin Jr. took off all his Tuesday mounts with a swollen ankle. Martin was in an automobile accident Sunday morning but was still able to ride that afternoon. His agent, Terry Miller, said Martin was undergoing tests in the hospital Tuesday to determine when he would be able to return.

Martin, 42, suffered a fractured shoulder in early September. His first winner after returning was She Says It Best in the Grade 2 Alcibiades on Oct. 7 at Keeneland.

First-hand look at destruction

Luke Kruytbosch, the regular race-caller at Churchill and Ellis Park since 1999, took a road trip Monday from Louisville to Ellis, where a tornado ripped through the racetrack Sunday.

"It was unbelievable," said Kruytbosch. "There was a piece of the safety rail way up in a tree, twisted into it. There were feed buckets and pieces of the barns more than a mile from the track. There was a path of destruction that was unmistakable. It's extremely fortunate that no people at the track were killed or even seriously hurt."

Pedigree players rewarded

The second race here Tuesday was one for students of pedigree. The winner, Venetian Sunset, is a half-brother to Strong Hope, winner of the Dwyer and Jim Dandy in 2003. WinStar Farm paid $1.4 million for Venetian Sunset, a 3-year-old Old Trieste colt who prevailed at 22-1 in his career debut.

The runner-up, Windigo, is a 4-year-old gelding by Unbridled out of Banshee Winds, which makes him a full brother to Banshee Breeze, the champion 3-year-old filly of 1998.

The $2 exacta paid $446.80.

* Private Vow, winner of the Grade 1 Futurity at Belmont, breezed five furlongs Monday at Churchill in 1:00.20. Private Vow finished last in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile after his bridle broke on the backstretch.

- additional reporting by Byron King