10/27/2004 11:00PM

Total Impact lowers his sights


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Trainer Laura de Seroux will be watching her future and her past Saturday. She will saddle Total Impact, the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup winner, in the Grade 3 Fayette at Keeneland. Then a few hours later, she will watch the Breeders' Cup on television to see how Azeri, the champion mare she once trained, performs in the Classic at Lone Star Park.

If had not required an $800,000 supplement to run in the Classic, that race could have been an option for him, de Seroux said. Instead, he is entered in the $150,000, 1 1/8-mile Fayette, a race that also includes Midway Road, who set the 1 1/8-mile track record at Keeneland this spring by running 1:46.78 winning the Ben Ali in the slop.

De Seroux is eagerly awaiting both the Fayette and the Classic. Although she acknowledges feeling mixed emotions regarding Azeri - who was transferred to trainer D. Wayne Lukas by owner Michael Paulson earlier this year. She said, "I'll never be rooting against her, that's for sure."

Total Impact brings a Breeders' Cup-type resume to the Fayette, having made over $761,000 in 2004, more than seven of the 13 Classic entrants. Following his Hollywood Gold Cup win in July, he ran third behind Pleasantly Perfect and Perfect Drift in the Pacific Classic and second to Lundy's Liability in the Goodwood Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita Oct. 2. Craig Perret rides him on Saturday.

If Total Impact performs well in the Fayette, it is likely to serve as a prep for the Clark Handicap - with both races meant to serve as stepping-stones to the Dubai World Cup next spring, de Seroux said.

, the runner-up in the 2003 Preakness and 2004 Pimlico Special, is Total Impact's principal adversary. He looks like the controlling speed, and has a spectacular record at Keeneland, where he is 3 for 3. Besides winning the Ben Ali by 11 1/4 lengths in the spring, he won two allowances at Keeneland earlier in his career.

Most recently, Midway Road was beaten by more than 25 lengths when he finished sixth in the Grade 1 Woodward at Belmont on Sept. 11. He displaced his palate that day and will race with a figure-eight bridle in the Fayette, trainer Neil Howard said.

Calvin Borel rides Midway Road, who breaks from the rail and carries 121 pounds, four fewer than highweight Total Impact.

Sonic West, Quest, Grey Beard, and Alumni Hall complete the field.

First post for Saturday's five-race card, which also will feature simulcasts of the Breeders' Cup races, is noon Eastern. The Fayette is scheduled for 2:10.