09/29/2005 11:00PM

Unlucky 'Lenny' gives it another try

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Michael Burns Photo Ltd.
Colorful Judgement (2) passes Lenny the Lender just before the wire in last year's Sky Classic.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Can Lenny the Lender finally get lucky in the Sky Classic?

Lenny the Lender, a 9-year-old gelding owned and trained by Richard Jukosky, has suffered very tough beats as the runner-up in the last two editions of the Grade 2 Sky Classic, a 1 3/8-mile turf handicap that will be run again here Sunday.

"He's run his best races, both years, in the Sky Classic," said Jukosky, who is based with Lenny the Lender at Fort Erie. "It would be a dream come true to see him win the race."

Last year, Lenny the Lender was leading in late stretch in the Sky Classic before succumbing by a neck to the inside rally of Colorful Judgement.

"I guess he might have just got a little bit tired, and he came away from the rail, and Colorful Judgement caught us right at the wire," said Jukosky.

But that loss was relatively easy to swallow when compared to the Sky Classic of 2003, when Lenny the Lender lost by a nose to Bowman Mill while being impeded in the vicinity of the finish line.

The stewards posted the inquiry sign but ruled that Lenny the Lender had been bumped by the winner just past the wire. Jukosky appealed the decision, but the Ontario Racing Commission upheld the result.

"We should have had that as a win, but we didn't, so I can't do anything too much about that," said Jukosky.

Lenny the Lender, in fact, has not visited the winner's circle since Oct. 31, 2002, when he won a second-level allowance race here.

But Lenny the Lender has ground out a steady income for Jukosky, banking $98,282 in 2003, $93,288 in 2004, and $52,580 from only three starts this year.

Lenny the Lender finished second behind Mobil in each of the last three renewals of the Halton Stakes, which was run on Sept. 4 this year, and once again serves as his stepping-stone to the Sky Classic. The Halton is a yearling sales stakes over 1 1/8 miles on the turf.

This year, Jukosky considered bypassing the Halton and running Lenny the Lender the next day in the Grade 2 Niagara at 1 1/2 miles on the grass. Mobil was cross-entered in both the Halton and the Elgin, on the dirt, the same day.

"I was so tempted to go into the Niagara," said Jukosky. "But I thought if the turf came up real soft, Mobil might just jump over into the other race, on the dirt, and I'd be in the Halton with a pretty nice field."

That did not happen, of course, but Jukosky still has reason to be optimistic that Lenny the Lender can end his drought on Sunday.

"Last year I was getting him ready at a farm, because the track closed early here," said Jukosky. "I think it will be a little better for me this year, because of the fact I've been able to train here."

Soft turf on Sunday would not hurt Lenny the Lender, and Daniel David, who took over as Lenny's rider two starts back, has been known to pull off the occasional miracle.

Not that it would take supernatural intervention for Lenny the Lender to win, of course.

Said Jukosky: "I don't know the other horses very well, but I know this - Lenny's in good shape. He trains really hard.

"I don't know what 9-year-olds are supposed to feel like. All I know is he's feeling really good. He hasn't lost anything from last year."

Arc de Triomphe simulcast wagering available

Simulcast wagering will be offered on the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and three other races from Longchamp on Sunday.

Wagering on all four races, beginning with the Prix Marcel Boussac at 10:05 a.m. Eastern, will be available only through HorsePlayer Interactive's telephone and online services. The Marcel Boussac will start a Win 4 and the second French simulcast race, the Grand Criterium at 10:45 a.m., begins a pick three.

Woodbine, Mohawk, Greenwood, and the teletheatre network will accept wagering only on the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (11:30 a.m.) and the Prix du Grand Hotel (12:15 p.m.). There will be a late double.

In addition to win, place, and show there will be exactor, triactor, and superfecta betting on all four races.

And, for the first time, Canadian horseplayers will wager directly into the North American pools hosted by Arlington Park.

Palladio and Ablo tune up for Ontario Derby

Palladio and Ablo worked six furlongs in company here Friday morning in preparation for next Sunday's $150,000 Ontario Derby, a 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds.

Palladio, with regular rider Richard Dos Ramos aboard, was clocked in 1:13.40 while Ablo, under his usual partner Gerry Olguin, was timed in 1:14.

"They both worked extremely well," said Roger Attfield, who trains both colts.

Palladio will be returning to the main track after finishing seventh in Saratoga's Grade 3 Saranac on Sept. 4. Ablo will be back with straight 3-year-olds after finishing third in the Elgin here Sept. 4.