03/18/2004 1:00AM

Zito force on undercard, too


There will be no escaping trainer Nick Zito Saturday at Turfway. Besides starting favored Birdstone in the $500,000 Lane's End Stakes, Zito has runners in two of the track's four supporting stakes.

Zito has an entry of Pies Prospect and El Prado Rob entered in the $100,000 Rushaway Stakes - which runs as the seventh race - and Glorious Miss in the $50,000 Queen Stakes, the sixth race on the 12-race card. The other two supporting stakes are the $150,000 Bourbonette Breeders' Cup for 3-year-old fillies - race 9 - and the $50,000 Hansel Stakes for 3-year-olds at six furlongs, the 10th race.

Pies Prospect and El Prado Rob give Zito a powerful one-two punch in the 1 1/16-mile Rushaway, which serves as an alternative for 3-year-olds who lack the class or seasoning to compete in the Lane's End.

Zito's two runners, both owned by Robert La Penta, fit from differing standpoints. Pies Prospect, a son of Crafty Prospector, is still relatively inexperienced, having started just three times. El Prado Rob, on the other hand, is seasoned, but has been a cut below the best in graded stakes.

Tested against some of Florida's best 3-year-olds this winter, El Prado Rob finished fourth in the Holy Bull Stakes and Fountain of Youth. Zito adds blinkers to El Prado Rob on Saturday.

Among their eight opponents, Tales of Glory looks like the main adversary. A son of Honour and Glory, Tales of Glory won a pair of one-turn races in New York last fall before finishing eighth in the $1 million Delta Jackpot Stakes on Dec. 5.

Trainer Todd Pletcher had considered the Lane's End for Tales of Glory's first start of the year.

Zito's chances do not appear as strong with Glorious Miss in the Queen. The six-furlong Queen drew several shippers, led by graded stakes winner Ebony Breeze.

Glorious Miss has a recency edge over Ebony Breeze, who is unraced since she finished second in the Grade 3 Raven Run Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 10. Glorious Miss, meanwhile, has remained active over the winter. After finishing third in her 4-year-old bow on Jan. 17, she won a second-level allowance at Gulfstream on Feb. 4.

Other contenders in the Queen include Air Marshall, a Shug McGaughey-trained filly coming off an entry-level allowance win at Gulfstream, and stakes winners Jenny's Prospector and Saratoga Humor.

In the one-mile Bourbonette Breeders' Cup, trainer Bob Baffert will start heavily favored Class Above.

A winner of two of four starts, Class Above enters the Bourbonette following two seventh-place finishes at Santa Anita - in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies and Grade 1 Las Virgenes Stakes.

Although she was soundly beaten in those races, Class Above made a splash when racing at Turfway in the fall of last year. Outclassing a field of ungraded stakes runners, she won the Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies by 16 lengths. Jerry Bailey has been named to ride - one of many live stakes mounts he has on the card.

Seeking the upset will be Slewpy's Storm, a recent 8 1/2-length winner of the Valdale Stakes. Like Class Above, Slewpy's Storm has been at her best racing at a mile over the Turfway main track. She won her two races at a mile at Turfway by a combined margin of 15 lengths.

"She has been training like an absolute monster," said trainer Ed Frederick. "I think this will really be a good opportunity to see how she matches up with some of the top horses in her division."

Fond and Native Annie are other stakes winners in the six-horse field. They ship in from New York and Texas.

Even without a stakes winner in the lineup, the racing office had to hustle to get nine horses entered in the Hansel.

The two most talented prospects appear to be Wulpe, an allowance winner over the winter in south Florida for Pletcher, and the D. Wayne Lukas-trained Gethsemani, who returns to a sprint after struggling in route races in California. Earlier in the year, Gethsemani was third in the Grade 3 San Miguel Stakes at Santa Anita.

The opposition is led by a pair of sprinters from the Bernie Flint barn: Man of Conquest and Danieltown.