07/13/2003 11:00PM

Tenpins strikes off layoff in Cornhusker

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ALTOONA, Iowa - Tenpins, returning from a 7 1/2-month layoff, turned away several challenges before drawing clear late for a two-length victory in Saturday's Grade 3, $350,000 Cornhusker Breeders' Cup Handicap at Prairie Meadows.

Tenpins ($4.80) dueled for the lead outside of Patton's Victory and Colorful Tour through an opening quarter-mile run in 22.44 seconds in the 1 1/8-mile Cornhusker. Jockey Robby Albarado then took him back into a stalking position around the first turn.

Tenpins would not rate for long and engaged the leading pair approaching the half-mile marker. Tenpins took the lead entering the second turn, but was immediately joined on his outside by both Woodmoon and Bowman's Band.

Bowman's Band stuck a head in front while racing three wide approaching the stretch and Tenpins appeared to be in trouble, but he fought back and outdueled Bowman's Band through the lane to record his eighth victory in 12 career starts.

Bowman's Band finished second, 5 1/2 lengths clear of Woodmoon, who finished third.

Albarado said he was never worried, even though Tenpins was headed approaching the stretch.

"He's done it numerous times: He kind of waits a little bit on that turn for horses. But he was just toying with them," Albarado said. "It's scary how good this colt is."

Trainer Don Winfree said Tenpins would likely make his next start in either the Whitney at Saratoga or the Iselin at Monmouth Park.