Updated on 09/17/2011 10:15PM

Velazquez wins eight straight

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Oaks candidate Runway Model (right) and the maiden filly Unbridled Idol bumped at Churchill Downs while training Monday. No one was injured.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - On Sunday at Keeneland, shortly after John Velazquez won his eighth straight race, he said: "I didn't think anyone was counting."

Actually, quite the opposite. Velazquez and his main man, trainer Todd Pletcher, both are going so good these days that seemingly everything they do is under a microscope. Each man is coming off his first Eclipse Award-winning season, and both have been so prominent in major races across the country that their success at the Keeneland spring meet seems a mere side effect to their dominance of racing as a whole.

Velazquez won with his last three mounts Friday at Keeneland, then won with both his mounts Saturday at Hawthorne, including Pollard's Vision for Pletcher in the National Jockey Club Handicap. He then won with his first three mounts Sunday, ending with Melhor Ainda in the Appalachian Stakes, before the remarkable streak finally ended when Supercell finished fifth in the Sunday finale.

Into the final three-day stretch of the Keeneland meet Wednesday, Velazquez leads the standings by an 18-14 margin over Rafael Bejarano. Pletcher holds a similarly comfortable margin over Nick Zito, 13-9.

The North American record for consecutive wins by a jockey is nine, set by Albert Adams in 1930 and equaled by Tony Black in 1993.

Rockport Harbor will get long rest

The last time John Servis ran a horse in a major race in Kentucky on a wet, nasty afternoon, it was the biggest day of his life. Servis sent out Smarty Jones to win the 130th Kentucky Derby last May when the weather was very similar to what was in store for the Lexington Stakes here last Saturday.

Unfortunately for Servis, that's where the similarities end. Rockport Harbor eliminated himself from any of the Triple Crown races with his sixth-place finish in the Lexington.

In the immediate aftermath of the race, Servis was hesitant to say the Derby was out, but by Sunday, Servis and owner Rick Porter had agreed that they would back off Rockport Harbor, skip the entire Triple Crown, and give him enough time to return to form. Rockport Harbor was unbeaten in four starts as a 2-year-old but was plagued by injuries and ailments throughout the winter and spring.

Short field likely for Oaks

The Kentucky Oaks favorite and one of her top challengers were out for serious work Monday at Churchill Downs. Sis City, who figures as the solid choice in the May 6 Oaks, went six furlongs in 1:14.40 over a fast track, one second slower than Summerly.

Churchill officials are expecting an unusually small field for the $500,000 Oaks. Besides Sis City and Summerly, the only other confirmed starters are Dance Away Capote, Sharp Lisa, Runway Model, and Dixie Talking, who will have to be supplemented for $25,000. Several more 3-year-old fillies are considered possible, including Culinary, Memorette, Rugula, and She Sings.

Runway Model, winner of the Golden Rod Stakes at Churchill last fall, had a scary moment Monday morning when coming onto the track to train soon after the regular harrow break. Runway Model was very hard to handle and actually bumped rather hard into a maiden filly named Unbridled Idol, although, fortunately for everyone, there were no injuries.

Few aiming for Derby Trial

The $100,000 Derby Trial, which helps open the Churchill meet Saturday, also may get a small field. Don't Get Mad and Vicarage are the top candidates in a race in which Big Top Cat, Miracle Man, Santana Strings, Ultimate, and possibly Spanish Chestnut are expected.

This is the first year in quite some time that the one-mile Trial has not been graded. That new twist means the race is of no help to any horse trying to boost his graded earnings for entry into the Kentucky Derby.

Turfway considers synthetic track

Turfway Park president Bob Elliston said last week that a decision is still pending on whether to overhaul the racing surface with the same brand of synthetic material that Keeneland installed on its five-furlong training track in September. The Turfway project could cost as much as $2 million, according to an independent source.

A press conference on the matter has been scheduled for Wednesday.