03/03/2009 1:00AM

Affirmed Truth meets softer

Email

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - When he entered Affirmed Truth in Thursday's feature at Oaklawn Park, trainer Tim Ice at least knew for certain that Rachel Alexandra would not be in the second-level allowance sprint for fillies and mares bred in Arkansas.

"I'm happy Rachel Alexandra is not an Arkansas-bred," he said.

Affirmed Truth finished fourth to Rachel Alexandra, one of the nation's top 3-year-old fillies, in last month's $50,000 Martha Washington at Oaklawn. The one-mile race on Feb. 15 was Affirmed Truth's first start around two turns, and she boldly set the pace as Rachel Alexandra, an imposing filly, stalked her before overtaking the leader and going on to an eight-length win.

"We knew what we were up against," said Ice, who trains Affirmed Truth for K.K. and Vilasini Jayaraman. "Watching the race, I was just wondering at what point Rachel Alexandra was going to go by us. Of course, it was to be expected. She's an outstanding filly. I thought our filly showed a lot of heart to run the race that she did."

Affirmed Truth, who finished 9 3/4 lengths behind Rachel Alexandra, will cut back to six furlongs on Thursday. The allowance will serve as her springboard to the $50,000 Rainbow Miss for 3-year-old fillies bred in Arkansas on March 28. Affirmed Truth won her maiden at the Rainbow Miss distance of six furlongs here Jan. 23.

"I expect her to show speed," Ice said. "She ought to be on the lead or near it. They have a couple of other horses in here that have speed, I see. If she doesn't make the lead, she'll be okay. She's not one that has to be on the front end, so I think it's just however she breaks. If she's on the lead, we'll go from there. If she doesn't make the lead, we'll just sit and make our run."

Jon Court has the mount on Affirmed Truth.

The chief threats include Heart Ack Road, a 6-year-old mare who has won nine races for her owner and trainer, Bob Higgins. She could develop into a candidate for the new $50,000 Natural State for Arkansas-bred fillies and mares here Marcho27. Robin My Girl, a sharp maiden winner in her last start, is a candidate for the Rainbow Miss, according to her trainer, Terry Gestes.

* There is a $19,412 pick six carryover for Thursday.