06/05/2005 11:00PM

Baxter Hall back in the hunt


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Last year at this time, Willmott Stables and trainer Tony Reinstedler had three standout grass fillies cranking up for what they hoped would be successful campaigns.

The year wound up being a productive one - for the most part. Sand Springs and Aud combined to win three stakes and more than $370,000 during their 4-year-old seasons, but their stablemate Baxter Hall was something of a disappointment, going winless in five starts after winning back-to-back races in March and April.

Today, Sand Springs is racing for new connections, having been sold at auction last fall, while Aud is retired. That leaves Reinstedler with only Baxter Hall, and if she is to begin emulating her former stablemates, she had better get moving. Reinstedler long has had high hopes for Baxter Hall, and at one point even believed she had the potential to be one of the best horses in his 15-year training career.

, now 4, is by Rahy out of Gail's Brush, making her a half-sister to Aud, whose career ended last November with six wins and more than $485,000 in earnings. Although she has finished in the money in 7 of 12 starts, Baxter Hall has won just twice, but she is highly eligible to get a third victory Wednesday at Churchill Downs when Pat Day climbs aboard her in the feature race.

Baxter Hall drew post 8 in a field of nine fillies and mares in the ninth of 10 Wednesday races, a $53,300 second-level allowance. Although she has not raced in nearly four months, Baxter Hall shows a series of steady recent workouts, and Reinstedler said he is confident she will be ready to handle all three turns in the 1 3/8-mile turf race.

If Baxter Hall is unable to prevail, the feature could go to , a decent seventh in that same May 21 race. The others entered are Conspiring, Miss Goosebumps, Piconeach, Feeling So Pretty, Where's Bailey, and Siberian Amur.

The feature is directly preceded by the only other allowance on the Wednesday card, a $50,800 entry-level race at a mile on the main track. Elijah's Song, trained by Carl Nafzger, looks like the horse to beat in a field of seven 3-year-olds and upward.

* A weekly handicapping contest is held every Wednesday in the Silks room on the second floor of the new clubhouse.

* The pick six carryover into Wednesday is $6,349.