04/29/2005 11:00PM

Afternoon Pajamas looks fastest


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The talent in allowance races in Kentucky typically runs through Gulfstream or Fair Grounds. But in Tuesday's ninth race at Churchill Downs, a $49,400 entry-level allowance for 3-year-old fillies, it may be a Turfway horse that proves best.

Afternoon Pajamas, who won the only start of her career, at Turfway on the March 26 Lane's End undercard, is the most probable winner of the seven-furlong ninth race. The reason is obvious: She's fast. Racing in one of the better maiden special weights of the Turfway meet, she splashed her way to a 3 1/2-length victory, running six furlongs in 1:10.73. She earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 84.

Her race was also visually impressive. She comfortably tracked a loose-on-the-lead front-runner in Harmonic Miss, and then easily blew past her in the stretch. Harmonic Miss, who ran a Beyer Figure of 75 for her runner-up finish behind Afternoon Pajamas, came back to score a 6 1/4-length maiden victory at Turfway, posting a Beyer of 81.

Since her maiden victory, Afternoon Pajamas, a daughter of Afternoon Deelites, has trained well over the Churchill Downs strip, working five furlongs in 1:01 on April 14 and the same distance in 1:02.60 on April. 6. Rafael Bejarano, the leading rider at Churchill Downs last spring, has been given a return mount by trainer Greg Foley.

Not counting three fillies stuck on the also-eligible list, there are 11 others entered to face her. Of those, a pair of stakes-placed fillies - Forever Brilliant and Carmandia - figure most prominently. The former, the runner-up in the Sophomore Fillies Stakes at Tampa on April 9, has hit the board in all three of her starts. Carmandia, meanwhile, placed in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies at Turfway last September before returning with a fourth-place finish at Gulfstream in her first start of 2005.

Tuesday's 10-race card also includes one other quality race - the third race, a $55,800 optional claiming race that serves as a three-other-than allowance for five of the six older fillies and mares entered.

Southern Surprise, a recent allowance winner at Oaklawn Park, has an edge in recent form in the 6 1/2-furlong third race. A 10-time winner, she would be ineligible for this race strictly under its allowance conditions, but she is running for an $80,000 claiming price. Jerry Bailey will ride for trainer Ralph Nicks.

Cats Copy, Beautiful Bets, Fly Away Angel, Pick of the Pack, and Technical Analysis round out the field of six.