06/26/2005 11:00PM

Woodard shifts focus to Kentucky

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Kelly's Landing, here setting the Churchill track record for six furlongs, has yet to be spotted for his next start.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The corollary to a hot streak is a cooling-off period, but don't tell that to Joe Woodard.

"I don't want to know anything about it," he said, joking.

Indeed, after reeling off a track-record 10 straight victories earlier in the Churchill Downs spring meet, Woodard has continued to win at a remarkable pace. By sending out two more winners, Mean Kisser and Adham, here Sunday, Woodard has won with 17 of 35 starters.

Concurrent to his sensational Churchill meet, Woodard also won the training title at the River Downs spring meet that ended Saturday, finishing one winner ahead of Reid Gross. It was Woodard's fourth straight River title, and maybe his last, at least for a while. In conjunction with his main client, Billy Hays, Woodard said he is "phasing out" his Ohio base while looking to concentrate primarily on the Kentucky circuit.

"I'll be running some at Ellis and Arlington this summer," said Woodard. "The four we got at River, that was a number we were shooting for. Now that it's done, we're going to shift our focus."

Although Woodard is currently second at the Churchill meet in wins behind Dale Romans, who has won 26 races, his stable earnings of $265,180 are the least among the top 14 trainers in wins. That number says something about the lower-level races that Woodard has feasted on, but he says he and Hays are intent on upgrading the quality of their stable.

"We've claimed some horses that we think are going to turn out real well," he said. "I've got maybe six or seven more to run this meet, but then we're going to back off a little. I've got some horses I need to get to know better. We've done a lot of horse trading lately."

Buy low, sell high?

You could say Louisville horse owner Bill "Lippy" LaMaster was happy with the victory by Wild Desert in the Queen's Plate at Woodbine on Sunday. Last winter, LaMaster privately purchased Hot Desert, a half-sister to Wild Desert, from Canadian owner-trainer Mark Casse.

"I had watched Wild Desert in the Bourbon County at Keeneland and the Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill and thought he was a great-looking horse with a lot of upside," said LaMaster.

So LaMaster did some research and found that Hot Desert, now 4, was competing at the lower claiming levels. So after the filly was claimed by Casse for $12,500 Canadian, LaMaster, in partnership with Clint Glasscock, negotiated to buy her. Shortly thereafter, Hot Desert was bred to Touch Gold, who stands for $50,000.

With the Queen's Plate win by Wild Desert, surely the value of his half-sister (both are out of Desert Radiance, by Desert Wine) has increased considerably. LaMaster said he intends to sell Hot Desert at the November sales at Keeneland.

"It was all on the 'if come,' and we just got very lucky," said LaMaster. "We've got our fingers crossed that now maybe Wild Desert can win the Canadian Triple Crown."

Next stop unsure for Kelly's Landing

Kelly's Landing, the 4-year-old gelding who set a track record for six furlongs here Saturday by winning the Aristides Handicap in 1:07.59, came out of the good race in good order, but trainer Eddie Kenneally said he is not sure where to run next.

"We'll make him eligible for all the appropriate races," said Kenneally. "It's very hot right now, so we don't want to run him back too quickly after such a big effort."

Kelly's Landing, by Patton, broke the record of 1:07.77 set by Kona Gold in his 2000 Breeders' Cup Sprint win.

Pair of stakes over holiday weekend

Katdogawn and Delta Princess will be the starting highweights Saturday in the $150,000 Locust Grove Handicap, the first of two stakes set for the coming weekend.

Katdogawn, with 121 pounds, and Delta Princess, 119, will be the favorites in a field also expected to include Sister Swank (117), Shaconage (116), and probably another three or four fillies and mares.

The Monday stakes will be one of the deepest of the meet: Kitten's Joy, the reigning turf champion, is scheduled to make his debut as the 124-pound highweight in the $250,000 Firecracker Handicap.

Romans, who trains Kitten's Joy, is hoping to use the one-mile Firecracker as a prep for the Aug. 13 Arlington Million. Among the likely opponents for Kitten's Joy in the Grade 2 Firecracker are America Alive, Cool Conductor, and Senor Swinger.