06/17/2008 11:00PM

Turf sprint could be Miller time


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Racing occasionally lends itself to unusual statistics. Here's one: Darrin Miller has saddled three winners at the Churchill Downs spring meet, and all of them have been 2-year-old fillies.

"Things kind of fell into place for us with them," said Miller, who sent out Oculuna, Cherubini, and Corlett to win maiden races during a 2 1/2-week span from May 18 to Juneo5.

With his other horses, however, Miller has gone 0 for 15 at the meet, so he is hoping Grease Monkey will break through for the older runners in the 20-horse stable he trains privately for the Silverton Hill Farms of Tommy and Bonnie Hamilton. Grease Monkey drew post 1 as a solid contender in a field of eight older horses entered in a $45,200, second-level turf sprint that serves as the feature race on a Friday twilight program at Churchill.

Grease Monkey, a 4-year-old gelding by Go for Gin, "has been pretty consistent in his last three starts," said Miller. "It looks like he may have found a niche sprinting on the turf, so we're going to try to sort of keep him in that groove."

Grease Monkey was 18-1 in his grass debut, finishing second on June 1 under the same conditions as Friday's race. As part of a well-matched field in the eighth of 10 Friday races, he doesn't necessarily figure as the favorite, but he certainly won't be as big a price as last time when Bill Troilo climbs back aboard.

His main opposition appears to be the uncoupled Steve Asmussen-trained duo of Road Ruler (post 4) and For Glory (post 6), and the newly claimed Foster (post 3), trained by Mike Maker.

Race 5 is the only other allowance race on the card, and it is also on the turf, a $43,100, entry-level allowance at 1 1/8 miles. Borobudur, with Julien Leparoux to ride, looks like the horse to beat.

Borobudur, trained by John Gaver 3rd, won two starts back at Keeneland, then ran a solid third at this level on May 1.

Gaver is the grandson of the late trainer John Gaver Sr., who 40 years ago this month sent out Stage Door Johnny to win the Belmont Stakes for Greentree Stable. Forward Pass, the Belmont runner-up that year, was awarded the victory in the Kentucky Derby on a controversial disqualification of Dancer's Image, then won the Preakness.