06/04/2008 12:00AM

Taletobetold on brink of breakthrough


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Taletobetold hardly fits the profile of a horse winless for over a year. An honest filly, she has been running the best numbers of her career, earning Beyer Speed Figures of 90 or higher in four of her last five races.

Yet since winning the Open Mind Stakes at Churchill Downs in May 2007, it hasn't been enough. Matched against some of the best female grass sprinters in this region, she has fallen just short of victory, while running well nearly every time.

Her luck seems due to change Friday. Entered in the sixth race at Churchill, a $50,400 allowance with a $100,000 claiming condition going five furlongs on grass, she is set to face just five rivals, provided the race stays on the turf.

Another filly, Casey's Jet, was entered to race on the main track only.

Friday's sixth race presents a contrast to the types of races in which Taletobetold has been running competitively - such as the Mamzelle and Giant's Causeway Stakes, races that drew larger, classier fields.

"The biggest sprint [turf] races are mostly $100,000 races," trainer Eddie Kenneally said. "And they draw the very best of them, even though the purse is not as high" as in other divisions.

Although Taletobetold is not facing fillies as gifted as Just for Keeps and Danceroftherealm, the respective winners of the Mamzelle and Giant's Causeway, Friday's sixth race drew some accomplished runners.

Sea the Joy is a stakes winner running short on grass. Fast Deal won the Holiday Inaugural over Polytrack at Turfway in December, and Sarah's Image has 2 wins and 1 second in 3 starts in turf sprints.

Julien Leparoux rides Taletobetold, a 4-year-old daughter of Tale of the Cat owned by Robert D. Dewitt.

Sore foot for Kelly's Landing

Kelly's Landing, who finished a distant fourth behind Indian Chant in the Grade 3 Aristides May 31, popped an abscess in a bruised foot two days after the race, which Kenneally believes may excuse the horse's flat performance.

"We'll work to get that healed up - it shouldn't take too long," he said.

Kelly's Landing, a 7-year-old Patton gelding owned and bred by Summerplace Farm, is winless in three starts since taking the Grade 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen in March of 2007 in Dubai.

Forest Command stirs memories

When Forest Command debuts in Friday's fifth race, a seven-furlong maiden race, he will represent the mating of two horses that made the spring of 2001 unforgettable for trainer John Ward and his wife, Donna, and their principal clients, owners Debby and John Oxley.

Forest Command is by Monarchos, the 2001 Kentucky Derby winner owned by John Oxley, out of Forest Secrets, who scored a stunning upset at 50-1 for Debby Oxley in the Gradeo1 Acorn a month later. John Ward was the official trainer of record for both horses, although Donna played a significant role in their training, as well.

Forest Command, who worked four furlongs from the gate over Keeneland's Polytrack in 45.60 seconds May 22, is a very talented, "big, strong horse," John Ward said.

Apparently he picked up more than his sire and dam's ability - also their high-spirited temperaments, which postponed a start last year.

"He kicked through a stall screen, which cost him some time, and we had to operate on his hock," Ward said.

Grasshopper, Jonesboro work

Possible Stephen Foster Handicap starters Grasshopper and Jonesboro worked six furlongs Wednesday, with the former covering the distance in 1:13.20 and the latter going in 1:13. Both works came over a drying-out track rated as "good."

Jonesboro won the Grade 3 Razorback in March at Oaklawn Park before finishing sixth in the Fifth Season at Oaklawn and Grade 3 Alysheba Stakes at Churchill on Kentucky Oaks Day.

Grasshopper, the 2007 Travers runner-up, ran fifth in the Grade 1 Pimlico Special May 16 after runner-up finishes in the Westchester Handicap at Belmont and New Orleans Handicap at Fair Grounds.