09/18/2010 12:02PM

Aphrodite’s Tears should get fair shake at Kentucky Downs

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Like most everyone else, Jimmy Baker noticed that speed tended to hold well in grass races at the recently ended Saratoga meet. That’s why he is encouraged with the form that a filly named Aphrodite’s Tears brings to her Monday race at Kentucky Downs.

Aphrodite’s Tears, part of a full field in the co-featured eighth race at the turf-only track in Franklin, Ky., was a fast-closing second in her Saratoga finale, a conditioned claiming race on Aug. 29.

“The filly ran a big race last out,” Baker said from Churchill Downs, where he has reconsolidated his stable after summering with his best stock at Saratoga. “The winner was dropping down from a one-other-than allowance, and it looked like those turf courses were pretty biased with speed all summer. I thought that for her to run second from as far back as she was, it was a real nice race.”

Aphrodite’s Tears, with Jesus Castanon to ride from post 11, is a lukewarm 5-2 program favorite in the $27,000 race, which carries a first-level allowance condition and will be run at a one-turn mile. Castanon, who is closing in on the 2,000-win career milestone, has made the most of his local opportunities, having won with 3 of his first 4 mounts at Kentucky Downs.

First Grade, It’s a Game, High Quality, and Lady’s Wish look like the main threats to Aphrodite’s Tears in a well-balanced group of fillies and mares.

A half-hour earlier, in race 7, breeder-owner Richard Averill and trainer Wesley Ward will try to get a second straight win from R Boy Bill, who barely lasted to win his second start, a turf sprint in maiden special weight company on Aug. 8 at Saratoga.

“We were really happy with the way he improved second time out,” said Averill, a central Florida businessman who will be on hand Monday.

R Boy Bill is one of three starters in for a $62,500 claiming option in a $27,000 sprint otherwise governed by a first-level allowance condition. The other two happen to be his main competition in a field of seven 2-year-olds: Goodtimehadbyall and Putitonwaynestab, an entry trained by Merrill Scherer.

Monday marks the fourth and last program of the abbreviated Kentucky Downs meet. First post for the nine-race card is 1:30 p.m. Central.