02/19/2004 12:00AM

Two-turn debut for most in Valdale


Like a school year with snow days and makeup days, the stakes schedule at Turfway Park has undergone quite a bit of weather-driven revision this winter.

A 12-race Saturday card at the Florence, Ky., track is proof positive, as two $50,000 stakes are on tap: the Valdale, which was on the original schedule, and the Dust Commander, which is being made up after being part of a canceled card last Saturday.

The one-mile Valdale, the 10th race on the card, represents new territory for many of the 3-year-old fillies, most of whom have never raced around two turns. Tarrah Trick, an easy winner of her only two starts - and the probable favorite partly because she will be ridden by leading jockey Rafael Bejarano - is one of the major contenders who will be stretching out for the first time Saturday.

Joe Cain, whose career hit a peak last year when he won several stakes with Private Horde, is the trainer of Tarrah Trick, who won two sprints in January by a combined 19 1/4 lengths. The primary competition likely will come from the respective 1-2-3 finishers in the 6 1/2-furlong Cincinnati Trophy Stakes on Jan. 17: Stoneway, Beau Watch, and Plumlake Lady. Of those, only Beau Watch has raced around two turns, and she has done so just once.

The Valdale is the local prep for the $150,000 Bourbonette Breeders' Cup, one of several stakes on the Lane's End Stakes undercard March 20.

The one-mile Dust Commander, the ninth race on the card, could boil down to a matchup between Ask the Lord, who also is likely to be favored partly because Bejarano will ride, and Doc D, upset winner of the Forego in his latest start.

Ask the Lord, trained by Bernie Flint, comes off a poor effort in a Jan. 24 allowance sprint at Oaklawn Park. Last fall, Ask the Lord won three straight races, capped off by a head victory in the Prairie Bayou at Turfway in December.

Doc D was third in the Prairie Bayou but rebounded to win the 6 1/2-furlong Forego four weeks ago at Turfway. Doc D's trainer, Lexington-based Eric Reed, also will saddle Beau Watch for the Valdale.

There were 11 cancellations (seven full and four partial programs) at Turfway this winter, but the lone stakes lost to weather was the Likely Exchange, a filly-mare race that was canceled on its original date, Feb. 7, and again last Saturday.