11/05/2004 1:00AM

Beulah: Just Michel defends title

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Defending champion Just Michel takes on 12 Ohio-bred filly and mare rivals in the $40,000 Scarlet and Gray Handicap at Beulah Park.

Just Michel was winless in five starts following her 2003 Scarlet and Gray victory but broke the losing string in her most recent start by rallying to a two-length victory over open allowance company at Thistledown on Oct. 9. The win came at six furlongs, the same distance as the Scarlet and Gray. Just Michel is 5 for 10 at the distance.

Ricardo Feliciano will be in from Cleveland to ride Just Michel, who will carry 119 pounds.

Scioto Bootski, who finished second, beaten a length, in last year's Scarlet and Gray, is the 122-pound highweight for trainer Albert Palacios. Scioto Bootski, a front-running 6-year-old mare, is 2 for 2 this year, having scored a pair of allowance victories here, the latest on Oct. 9.

Overall, Scioto Bootski sports an impressive 12-6-3 record from 26 career starts with earnings in excess of $219,000.

Hector Rosario Jr. will ride Scioto Bootski.

Red Hot Helen finished second behind Just Michel last time out. She figures to work out a good stalking trip under jockey I.J. Rosendo, who has a return call for trainer Donn Rowe.