06/28/2004 12:00AM

Trainers look elsewhere as meet winds down


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - With the Churchill Downs spring meet ending Monday, trainers stabled here with top horses are looking ahead to shipping elsewhere for major races.

One of those races, the Cornhusker Breeders' Cup at Prairie Meadows, will be run Saturday while the Churchill meet is still winding down. At least three local horses are scheduled to travel Thursday by charter flight to Iowa to run in the Cornhusker: Perfect Drift, Crafty Shaw, and Roses in May.

Perfect Drift, who underwent throat surgery shortly after finishing third in the June 12 Stephen Foster Handicap, already has resumed serious activity, having breezed a half-mile in 48.40 seconds Saturday at his Louisville Trackside base.

"We're very excited," said trainer Murray Johnson. "We're making our way around the Midwest, and we hope we can bring back this one."

Clock Stopper and Suave are among the other local horses pointing to important out-of-town races the following Saturday, July 10.

Clock Stopper, one of several local horses who will ship to Calder for its rich Summit of Speed series, worked a half-mile Sunday in 47.40 seconds. Suave, winner of the Northern Dancer Stakes, breezed a half-mile Saturday in 48 seconds and will run in the Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park.

Meanwhile, Fire Slam, winner of the Matt Winn and Riva Ridge in his last two starts, is still being pointed to the July 24 Don Bernhardt at Ellis Park before shipping to Saratoga for his major summer goal, the King's Bishop on Aug. 28. Trained by David Carroll, Fire Slam breezed an easy half-mile Sunday in 53.40 seconds.

A lesson for Lukas

An amused D. Wayne Lukas, who was at Churchill watching via simulcast Saturday when his Stellar Jayne upset the Mother Goose at Belmont, said his instructions to winning jockey Robby Albarado had been to keep the filly outside of rivals because "she won't run on the rail."

Lukas, acknowledging how Stellar Jayne won after racing inside the entire trip, said the incident tends to prove that "we know nothing about these horses."

Stellar Jayne runs next in the 1 1/4-mile Coaching Club American Oaks on July 24 at Belmont.

Hard Buck to start at Monmouth

Hard Buck, initially slated to run Sunday in the Stars and Stripes Handicap, will run instead Saturday in the United Nations at Monmouth Park, said trainer Ken McPeek. Hard Buck was scheduled to travel Tuesday to New Jersey.

One of McPeek's other top horses, Sister Star, is getting a short rest after being held out of the American Oaks at Hollywood this weekend. Owner John Marker said he is looking at the Aug. 2 Lake George at Saratoga as the filly's probable next start.

* Shaconage, winner of the Locust Grove here Saturday, may run next at Arlington Park or Saratoga, said her trainer, Mitch Shirota, although nothing specific has been mapped out. Shirota said he may eventually run Shaconage, a gray 4-year-old filly, on dirt, although she is more likely to remain on turf for the near future.

* Ocean Silk, scratched from the Locust Grove after winning the Friday feature, will make her next start in the July 24 Modesty Handicap at Arlington, said trainer Pat Byrne.

* John Fahey III, the former Lukas stablehand and Steve Asmussen assistant, notched the second victory of his solo training career when Grand Destiny rolled to victory here Sunday in the $49,100 allowance feature. Fahey, known on the backstretch as "Big John," began training privately on May 20 for Don Dizney.

* The three stakes that help close out the spring meet this coming weekend are the $250,000 Firecracker Handicap on Saturday, the $100,000 Debutante Stakes on Sunday, and the $150,000 Bashford Manor Stakes on Monday. As usual, a large cast is expected for the Firecracker, with smaller fields likely for the two 2-year-old races.