07/27/2004 11:00PM

Thistledown track report


NORTH RANDALL, Ohio - Ten Ohio-bred 3-year-olds and upward, including a stable coupling, are slated to match strides over 1 1/8 miles in the 25th running of the $45,000 George Lewis Memorial Stakes at Thistledown Friday afternoon.

Crypto's Prospect comes into the race off a fast-closing neck victory over 3-year-olds at this distance July 4. A gelded son of Crafty Prospector, Crypto's Prospect has won three of his six starts this year, all in come-from-behind fashion, including a win over older horses April 15. He faces his toughest competition Friday, and if he retains his form, he will be hard to handle. Trained by Joseph Martin, Crypto's Prospect will be ridden by Weldon Cloninger Jr. and carries high weight of 115 pounds. All other starters will carry 114.

His main opposition should come from Brent's Victory and Rupert Herd. Brent's Victory was second in this race last year and has finished second in two of his three races this year. He has the tactical speed to be well placed and could be the horse to beat. Dean Sarvis will come up from River Downs to ride for trainer Jim Morgan.

Rupert Herd has won three straight at Churchill Downs and is a proven router. He also likes to run with the pace and should be a solid factor. Joe M. Johnson will ride for trainer Gary Hartlage.

The dark horse in the field may be Real Echo, trained by Jerry Hollendorfer. Real Echo has won two of his four career starts, and in his lone start in Ohio he led every step of the way to coast to an 8 3/4-length win going a mile and 70 yards here July 5.