LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- It doesn't matter that D. Wayne Lukas has no horse in the Kentucky Derby. He still draws a crowd.

Why? Because he's trying to persuade the owner of the filly Sharp Cat to let him enter her.

"If I thought we were really overmatched, I'd just as soon sit it out," said Lukas, who has saddled horses in every Kentucky Derby since 1981. "I'd like to run her, only because I think we can win it."

Prince Ahmed Salman, a member of Saudi Arabia's ruling family, owns Sharp Cat. Lukas said that the prince might agree to run, but that his racing manager, Richard Mulhall, prefers to race Sharp Cat here on Friday in the Kentucky Oaks for fillies.

"The prince is in Lexington. He's gotten into the country," Lukas said yesterday. "So we'll just have to see how he feels about it when he gets over here."

In her only start against males, Sharp Cat finished sixth April 5 in the Santa Anita Derby. Lukas is eyeing the Kentucky Derby because of its lack of an early burner, a horse willing to break into the lead and hope for the best down Churchill Downs' long homestretch.

Several trainers, including John Tammaro III, hope Lukas gets clearance to enter the filly. Tammaro trains Concerto, whom he does not want on the lead.

"I hope he does run her," Tammaro said. "That'll put some speed into the race. That might be to my advantage."

Decision due on entries

The status of possible entrants Shammy Davis and Pacificbounty will probably be decided today after morning workouts. Their trainers, Nick Zito and Walter Greenman, respectively, seem to be leaning toward entering.

Pacificbounty suffered a gash on his right front hoof during the Arkansas Derby. Shammy Davis is healthy, but seemingly not as talented as the other Derby horses.

"He really would be a long shot," Zito said. "But stranger things have happened. So what? It's America."

Battaglia on odds

Mike Battaglia, oddsmaker at Churchill Downs, said that if the post-position draw were yesterday (it is Wednesday), he would make Pulpit the 5-2 morning-line favorite, ahead of Captain Bodgit at 3-1.

The rest of his line: Silver Charm 5-1, Concerto 6-1, Free House 6-1, Crypto Star 8-1, Sharp Cat 10-1, Hello 12-1, Phantom On Tour 12-1, Pacificbounty 20-1, Jack Flash 20-1 and Celtic Warrior 30-1. He did not issue a line on Shammy Davis.

Why Pulpit over Captain Bodgit?

"I just think Pulpit's going to get more play," Battaglia said. "But I do think Captain Bodgit is getting more respect."

Mr. Broy wins for Tammaro

As Lawrence "Bubbles" Broy, 65, a groom for Tammaro, prepared to feed Concerto yesterday afternoon, a horse Tammaro named for Broy won at Pimlico.

Mr. Broy rallied to win a six-furlong $17,500 allowance race, returning $7.80. It was the 3-year-old gelding's second win in seven starts.

Tammaro bought him last year at the 2-year-old-in-training sale at Timonium -- and named him after his loyal employee of 22 years. Neither groom nor trainer saw the race on TV, and neither bet on the horse, Tammaro said.

Pub Date: 4/28/97

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