10/31/2005 12:00AM

Too much traveling takes its toll on Lord of the Game


CHICAGO - The two Hawthorne-based Breeders' Cup horses finished their major fall business on Saturday. Original Spin was a good third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. Lord of the Game was not even at Belmont Park.

Re-routed from the Breeders' Cup Classic to the $150,000 Fayette Handicap at Keeneland, Lord of the Game finished a disappointing sixth. The defeat stung in many ways. Lord of the Game had been shipped to Belmont needing one defection to get into the oversubscribed Classic, but when entries were taken Wednesday, he was left outside looking in. That blow became sharper when on Friday morning Rock Hard Ten was declared from the race, which would have opened up a slot in the starting gate - if the Breeders' Cup allowed any also-eligibles. But that is not the case, and Lord of the Game was shipped Wednesday to Keeneland. Trainer Tom Tomillo said the horse was not himself on race day, and hated the Keeneland surface to boot. That he did not run his race was evident, because Super Frolic, who had beaten Lord of the Game by a head in the Hawthorne Gold Cup, finished fourth in the Classic.

"It's really a shame, because he was training super at Belmont," Tomillo said. "I could see when he came in the paddock Saturday he wasn't himself. It was too much traveling."

Tomillo said Lord of the Game, back in Chicago on Monday, was "knocked out," but otherwise okay. He will remain in Tomillo's Hawthorne barn, but Tomillo plans to give the horse a break. If Lord of the Game bounces back and trains with vigor, there's a slight chance he could make the Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs on Nov. 25, but only, Tomillo said, if the race doesn't come up too tough.

Meanwhile, Original Spin is headed for her winter quarters in Aiken, S.C., where she first suggested last winter that she might be a special horse. Trainer Tony Mitchell said it had been determined even before the Breeders' Cup to give Original Spin the rest of the season off.

Original Spin became a wise-guy play in the Juvenile Fillies, and went off at odds of 4-1. While no match for Folklore and Wild Fit, Original Spin held on gamely for third, and should have a bright future.

"Being less experienced than any other horse in the race, I thought she just ran super," Mitchell said, adding that Original Spin had come out of the Breeders' Cup in good physical condition.

Try Harder the one to catch

There were the usual two dark days this racing week at Hawthorne, but with the end of daylight savings time, and sunset already coming on before 5 p.m. here, you could probably call the rest of the Hawthorne racing season, still with more than two months to go, an extended series of dark days.

The Wednesday feature will not send fans leaping out of their seats: It is an entry-level route allowance with a seven-horse field. And the field is typical for the class level this time of the year, a mix of allowance horses, open claimers, and conditional claimers.

Try Harder should win if she shakes loose from the outside-drawn Valiant Glory early in the race. Try Harder, from the barn of Roger Brueggemann, has easily won two in a row, the last in a $25,000 claimer, and has led at every call in those victories. She has post 2 in Wednesday's fourth race, and could be long gone unless Valiant Glory leaves the gate running and crosses over from her outside draw. If Try Harder takes pressure, however, the race could set up for turf-to-dirt I Love America, who was off form in her most recent start, but can do much better.