05/02/2007 12:00AM

Asi Siempre has much in her favor


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Asi Siempre will return to the scene of perhaps her best performance as well as her biggest disappointment when she vies for favoritism with Indian Vale and Sugar Shake in Friday's Grade 2, $300,000 Louisville Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs.

Asi Siempre rallied from far back over a track that favored inside speed and also overcame a world of trouble to cross the finish line second behind Round Pond in the 2006 Breeders' Cup Distaff at Churchill. Asi Siempre, however, was disqualified and placed fourth for interfering with Balletto near midstretch.

Trainer Patrick Biancone gave Asi Siempre ample time off following her effort in the Distaff, finally bringing her back to capture Keeneland's Grade 3 Doubledogdare Stakes over the Polytrack on April 18. She had registered her most important victory, the Grade 1 Spinster, over the same surface just four weeks prior to the Breeders' Cup.

"She's doing very well, she's in excellent form, Garrett [Gomez] likes the filly very much, and we're in good shape," said Biancone. "I'm very confident. The Breeders' Cup was a gamble running her over conventional dirt for the first time and she handled it very well, so moving off the Polytrack again Friday is no concern."

Asi Siempre will carry 122 pounds, two fewer than Sugar Shake and two more than Indian Vale in the 1 1/16-mile Louisville.

The pace scenario will favor the stretch-running Asi Siempre, with Indian Vale, Sugar Shake, and Fiery Pursuit all at their best on the lead.

Indian Vale returned from a 10-month layoff, which was caused by an ankle injury sustained last May in the Grade 2 Shuvee, to easily capture Aqueduct's Grade 3 Next Move Handicap on March 31. The Shuvee was one of only two losses in eight career starts for Indian Vale.

"She's not particularly a quick filly, but she can rattle off those 12s over and over again," said trainer Todd Pletcher when asked if Indian Vale necessarily needed to be on the lead.

Sugar Shake may be a bit more one -dimensional than Indian Vale, as she has been on the lead in all five of her victories, including the Grade 1 Santa Maria Handicap at Santa Anita in her most recent start on Feb. 10. A homebred trained by Bobby Frankel for the Stronach Stable, Sugar Shake will bring a three-race win streak into the Louisville.

Baghdaria comes off a fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park and should also benefit from a fast pace.