10/25/2004 11:00PM

Trainer Riley paralyzed in fall


Trainer Barbara Riley has been left paralyzed from the waist down after a fall in a riding accident during training hours Friday at Turfway Park, said Connie Kordenbrock, a friend of Riley.

She underwent surgery Sunday to have vertebrae realigned that were crushed.

"The doctors say as far as walking again she is going to need a miracle," Kordenbrock said.

Riley was injured when a horse she was riding broke its shoulder during a morning workout. Besides her spinal injury, she also suffered five broken ribs, a broken collarbone, a collapsed lung, and an eye injury, Kordenbrock said.

Riley is in serious condition at University Hospital in Cincinnati. Kordenbrock, who visited her there, said Riley's spirits remain high.

"She's down for a little bit - not done," she said.

Despite being hospitalized, Riley was adamant that Indian Renegade, a maiden she trains, run at Beulah Park last Saturday, Kordenbrock said. With Riley's friends and co-workers pitching in to run the colt, Indian Renegade was shipped to Beulah, where he ran fifth.

Riley, 49, is based in the Cincinnati area, running most of her horses at Turfway Park in Florence, Ky., and at River Downs and Beulah Park in Ohio.

The Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association has set up a fund on her behalf. Donations can be made to the Barbara Riley Fund and sent in care of the Kentucky HBPA, 422 Heywood Ave., Louisville, Ky., 40208. Donations also are being acepted at the Turfway Park HBPA office.

Honor in War stuck on waiting list

On Tuesday, trainer Paul McGee found himself in a familiar position, playing the Breeders' Cup waiting game. His Grade 1-winning grass horse, Honor in War, is stuck on the alternate list for the Mile and needs defections to gain entry when posts are drawn Wednesday.

The experience is nothing new for McGee. He said that Bet on Sunshine, an ace sprinter he trained, twice had to draw into the Sprint after not being among the initial selections of the Breeders' Cup committee. Bet on Sunshine ran in the Breeders' Cup three times, finishing third in 1997 at Hollywood Park, third at Churchill Downs in 2000, and 13th at Belmont in 2001.

If Honor in War does not gain entry to the Mile, he is likely to be pointed toward the River City Handicap at Churchill Downs on Nov. 21.

McGee's other stable star, Hoosier Derby runner-up Suave, may also see stakes action during the Churchill Downs fall meeting, which begins Sunday. He is under consideration for the Nov. 26 Clark Handicap, McGee said.

Fair Grounds picks up new trainers

In past years, McGee has sent a division of runners to Florida for the winter. This year he is sending 16 horses to Fair Grounds. He said the decision was influenced in part by frustration about turf races overfilling at Gulfstream Park and by Churchill Downs' purchase of Fair Grounds.

McGee is not alone. Bernie Flint, Steve Flint, and Dale Romans are other Churchill Downs-based trainers who have been issued stalls at Fair Grounds, said Ben Huffman, racing secretary for Keeneland and Fair Grounds. In recent years, they had wintered their horses elsewhere.

By owning seven racetracks in full or in partnership, Churchill Downs has more leverage with horsemen than a single track.

Huffman said Churchill Downs' acquisition of Fair Grounds played a role in attracting these trainers to stable there, but was not the sole reason. An uncertain racing scene in Florida, due to the reconstruction of the Gulfstream grandstand, and the eventual arrival of slot machines at Fair Grounds were also contributing factors, he said.

Other trainers joining the Fair Grounds colony this year include Michael Gorham, Bubba Cascio, and Todd Pletcher, whose stable has been assigned 36 stalls.

Last two stakes this weekend

Keeneland will stage its final stakes of its fall meet on Friday and Saturday. The $100,000 Bourbon County Stakes for 2-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on turf is the Friday headliner. The closing-day $150,000 Fayette, a Grade 3, follows on Saturday's four-race card that includes simulcasts of the Breeders' Cup races from Lone Star.

Three-time stakes winner Dubleo is the expected favorite for the Bourbon County. Bianconi's Boy, Boggy Creek, Dr. Hocking, Five Rubies, Go to the Sun, Major League, Ready Ruler, Reno Bob, United, and Wild Desert are other likely starters, Keeneland stakes coordinator Dan Bork said.

The Fayette, a 1 1/8-mile contest on the main track, will have a much shorter field. Midway Road, runner-up in the Grade 1 Pimlico Special earlier in the year, is expected to face Country Be Gold, Quest, Sonic West, and Total Impact. Alumni Hall, who, like Midway Road, is trained by Neil Howard, is a possibility, Bork said.