08/05/2004 12:00AM

Undercard packed with stakes


Mountaineer Race Track typically offers a steady diet of claiming races. Not Saturday - there are no claiming races, or even maiden races, on the nine-race West Virginia Derby card. Two allowances and six stakes complement the $600,000 West Virginia Derby, the track's signature race. Purses total over $1.2 million.

All but one of the supporting stakes will be contested for purses of $85,000 apiece. The exception is the West Virginia Governor's Handicap, a $100,000 stakes that, as the seventh race, immediately precedes the West Virginia Derby.

Shippers will have a big presence in many of the races, with horses coming to Mountaineer from all over the Northeast, Illinois, and Kentucky.

Bernie Flint, a trainer based in Louisville, is strongly represented in three stakes and one allowance on the program. The ship to Mountaineer is common for Flint, who through Wednesday had won 22 races this year at the Chester, W.Va., track - just under a third of his 2004 win total of 70 victories.

In the second-richest race of the day, the 1 1/16-mile West Virginia Governor's Handicap, Flint has entered Discreet Hero and Ask the Lord.

Flint said Thursday that he has not decided whether to run both or only one. Clyde Martin was named aboard both horses when entries were taken Wednesday.

Of the two, Ask the Lord seems to have the stronger chance. He has won 4 of 8 starts in 2004 and is 2 for 2 on the main track at Mountaineer.

He will be competing on short rest if he is not scratched. He last ran July 31, finishing fourth in the Prairie Meadows Handicap as the 3-5 favorite.

"He didn't do very well, likely for traffic reasons," Flint said.

Discreet Hero is a relative newcomer to the Flint stable. He was claimed from a $40,000 race at Churchill Downs on July 5, a race he won handily. Discreet Hero faded to sixth in his subsequent start on July 24, racing on grass at Ellis Park.

"The jury is still out on him," Flint said.

Other contenders include Wiggins, last year's Round Table winner, who comes off a second to Alumni Hall in the Black Tie Affair at Arlington on July 10; and Roar of the Tiger, a full brother to 2000 Breeders' Cup Classic runner-up Giant's Causeway. Roar of the Tiger is unraced since January, but is 3 for 5 since being placed on dirt.

Other Saturday stakes at Mountaineer include:

The West Virginia Secretary Of State Handicap: Kentucky invader Put Me In, who ran second to Lady Tak in the Winning Colors Handicap at Churchill Downs this May, faces eight rivals in the six-furlong race, including Claiming Crown Glass Slipper winner Banished Lover and the graded stakes-placed Our Josephina.

The West Virginia Chairman's Cup Handicap: Danieltown, trained by Flint, has led at the first and second calls in his last 10 races and is well-suited to this 4 1/2-furlong dash. Inconsistent over the winter, Danieltown has since hit the board in seven straight races.

A 3-year-old, Danieltown faces elder stakes runners, including Fine Stormy and Ameri Brilliance, a pair of short-distance specialists at Charles Town, and Kentucky Cup Turf winner Fredericktown.

The West Virginia House of Delegates Speaker's Cup Handicap: Banned in Boston, who is graded stakes-placed, stretches out to a mile for this turf contest. He will attempt to outrun a full field that includes 2004 stakes winners Spruce Run and Gin and Sin.

The Delegates Speaker's Cup drew horses from all over the country. Spruce Run and Tam's Terms last started at Monmouth Park, Image raced at Arlington in his last start, and Marshall Rooster last ran at Hollywood Park on June 25.

The West Virginia Senate President's Cup Handicap: Another mile turf race, this one for fillies and mares, also drew a full field. Former claimer Chance Dance, a winner of 5 of 8 starts in 2004, will try to hold off the late rally of Lady of the Future.

Lady of the Future fell a head short of Alternate when second in the $150,000 Robert G. Dick Memorial at Delaware Park on July 17. Previously, Lady of the Future had won the $100,000 Dr. James Penny Memorial handicap at Philadelphia Park on July 3.

The Harvey Arneault Memorial Handicap: Main-track sprinters are in this six-furlong race, and Crossing Point is the one to catch. Giving chase will be stakes winner Founding Chairman, Eavesdropper, and Sterling Gold.

Sterling Gold cuts back in distance after winning a mile allowance at Arlington on July 29, earning a 101 Beyer Speed Figure. Flint said he is unconcerned about the distance change, noting that mile races at Arlington come around one turn and play like sprints.