Lido Palace, winning the Whitney, is among the top contenders for the Clark Handicap.

Lido Palace, winning the Whitney, is among the top contenders for the Clark Handicap.

AP/Dave Oxford

Lido Palace, Tenpins Top Clark Handicap Field

(From track report)
Amerman Racing Stables' Lido Palace, a Chilean import who has ranked among the finest handicap horses in America over the past two seasons, and Joseph Vitello's Tenpins, a rising star bidding to establish a national reputation, head an accomplished field of 12 horses in Friday's 128th running of the $400,000-added Clark Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill Downs.

The 1 1/8-mile Clark, which dates back to Churchill Downs' inaugural meet in 1875, is the racing highlight of a three-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend of racing that closes out the track's Fall Meet.

Lido Palace hails from the powerhouse stable of trainer Bobby Frankel, whose horses have earned nearly $17 million in 2002. A victory by Lido Palace in the Clark would provide a significant boost to Frankel's bid to shatter the all-time, single-year earnings record of $17,842,358 established by Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas in 1988.

The son of Rich Man's Gold has won the last two runnings of Belmont Park's prestigious Woodward Stakes (gr. I) and was runner-up to Evening Attire in Belmont's Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I). The 5-year-old Lido Palace has a career record of 10 wins, seven seconds and two thirds in 22 races and has earned $2,423,374.

Jockey Jorge Chavez will ride Lido Palace, who will carry highweight of 121 pounds and has been installed as the 9-5 morning line favorite by Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia.

A victory by Tenpins in the Clark would push the 4-year-old son of Smart Strike to the forefront of the American handicap ranks. Trained by Don Winfree, the Churchill Downs-based Tenpins counts the Washington Park Handicap (gr. II) at Arlington Park, Keeneland's Fayette Stakes (gr. III), and the William Donald Schaefer Handicap (gr. III) at Pimlico among his five wins in 2002. His only loss was a third-place finish to Street Cry in Churchill's $750,000 Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I).

"It's been a good year and we're looking forward to another good year with him next year," said Winfree. "When you start running for $400,000, somebody's going to show up and test you. I just want my horse to go over there 100 percent and after that we'll play it by ear."

Regular jockey Robby Albarado will ride Tenpins at 118 pounds.

Other major contenders for the Clark include Foster runner-up Dollar Bill; Gander, winner of the Empire Classic and a troubled fifth in the 2001 Clark; Turfway Park Fall Championship (gr. III) winner Crafty Shaw; and Hero's Tribute, winner of the Black Tie Affair at Arlington Park.

Also in the field are two Nick Zito-trained 3-year-olds, Perryville Stakes winner Najran and American Style, who will run as an entry for Buckram Oak Farm.

$400,000-added Clark Handicap (gr. II), 128th running, 4:29 p.m. (EST), 1 1/8 mile, 3 & up
PP. Horse, Trainer, Rider, ML Odds
1. Lido Palace, Robert Frankel, Jorge Chavez, 9-5
2. Generous Rosi, Niall O'Callaghan, Larry Melancon, 15-1
3. Gander, John Terranova, Richard Migliore, 8-1
4. X Country, John Fuchs, Dana Whitney, 30-1
5. Hero's Tribute, John Ward, Jr., Edgar Prado, 10-1
6. Dollar Bill*, Dallas Stewart, Mark Guidry, 8-1
7. Hail The Chief, Niall O'Callaghan, Craig Perret, 5-1
8. Tenpins, Don Winfree, Robby Albarado, 7-2
9. Neon Shadow, Carl Bowman, Lonnie Meche, 30-1
10. American Style - a, Nick Zito, Shane Sellers, 10-1
11. Najran - a Nick Zito, Pat Day, 10-1
12. Crafty Shaw, Pete Vestal, James Lopez , 20-1
a - Buckram Oak Farm entry
* - blinkers off