05/01/2007 12:00AM

Big names everywhere on Ky. Oaks card


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Aside from the Kentucky Oaks, there will be plenty of top-drawer racing to entertain the six-figure crowd here Friday.

Five stakes lead into the Oaks, which is carded as the 10th of 11 races, and virtually every one of them has a recognizable name or two.

* Grade 3, $100,000 Alysheba (race 4): Perfect Drift, the 8-year-old gelding with a career bankroll of more than $4.6 million, drew post 1 in a field of eight older horses in the 1 1/16-mile race that drew several front-runners, including Wanderin Boy and Half Ours.

* The $150,000 Edgewood (race 5): Moonee Ponds, perfect in two starts since being shifted to turf by trainer Tom Proctor, should be one of the favorites in a field of nine 3-year-old fillies. The Edgewood, run at 1 1/16 miles on turf, is the lone ungraded stakes of the day.

* Grade 3, $150,000 Aegon Turf Sprint (race 7): In perhaps the best betting race of the day, the 6-year-old mare Unbridled Sidney makes her season debut against 11 males in this five-furlong turf race. Other logical contenders include The Nth Degree, Ellwood and Jake, Roi Charmant, and Lifestyle.

* Grade 2, $300,000 Louisville Breeders' Cup (race 8): Oaks Day regulars surely will recognize the name of Lemons Forever, who last year became the longest-priced winner in Oaks history, winning the race at 47-1. And although Lemons Forever won't be such a big price in the 1 1/16-mile Louisville BC, she won't be favored in this field of seven fillies and mares, either. That role should go to Asi Siempre, the Patrick Biancone-trained mare who finished second (although disqualified to fourth) here last fall in the Breeders' Cup Distaff.

* Grade 3, $150,000 Crown Royal American Turf (race 9): Marcavelly and Duveen, winners of turf stakes in their respective last starts, head a field of 11 3-year-olds in this 1 1/16-mile turf race. Imawildandcrazyguy, who it appears likely will get to run Saturday in the Kentucky Derby, and Delightful Kiss, who surely won't, are also entered.

Einstein, Brilliant battle in Woodford

Einstein and Brilliant, two leading contenders for Saturday's Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic, tuned up on Tuesday morning, with bullet drills over a firm Churchill grass course.

Einstein, winner of the Mervin H. Muniz. Jr. Memorial at Fair Grounds in his last start March 10, worked a half-mile around the dogs in 49.40 seconds, while Brilliant, who won the Grade 2 Jefferson Cup over the Churchill course last fall, went five furlongs in 1:02.80. Einstein's work was the fastest of eight at a half-mile for the day, and Brilliant's drill was quickest of two at five furlongs.

Robby Albarado, who has ridden both horses in recent starts, is staying aboard Einstein for the Woodford Reserve. Mark Guidry will ride Brilliant, trainer Neil Howard said.

Brilliant comes off a third-place finish at Keeneland in an allowance April 7, a race in which he was beaten 2 1/4 lengths by subsequent Elkorn Stakes winner Ascertain. The race marked his first start since he was sixth in the Oct. 14 Hawthorne Derby.

"He figured to get a little bit tired and he did," Howard said.

Also expected to run in the Woodford Reserve, a $500,000 race at 1 1/8 miles, is Breeders' Cup Turf runner-up Better Talk Now and his pacesetter Shake the Bank, Defer, Go Between, Icy Atlantic, and Milk It Mick. Sky Conqueror is possibility, Churchill Downs vice president of racing Donnie Richardson said.

The Woodford will be the first race of the year for likely favorite Better Talk Now.

One horse not running is Bayeux, who ran fourth in the April 13 Maker's Mark Mile after finishing second in the Grade 1 Frank Kilroe Mile.

"He is going to be out for a while," trainer Patrick Biancone said. "He broke his left knee in the Maker's Mark Mile."

Churchill Downs Handicap looks soft

The $250,000 Churchill Downs Handicap carries a Grade 2 ranking, but the 73rd running here Saturday appears to be coming up rather soft. The list of probable starters for the seven-furlong race does not include any of the top 10 sprinters in the latest Watchmaker Watch in Daily Racing Form.

Churchill officials said a mid- to large-sized field of older horses is expected. Entries for race and the entire 12-race Saturday card, were to be drawn Wednesday.

Sunscreen allowed

In a concession to the sunny forecast for the weekend, Churchill has amended its security policy to allow sunscreen products on Oaks and Derby Days. Patrons have been banned for bringing sunscreen on Oaks and Derby Days since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The forecast for Friday and Saturday is high temperatures and a very high ultraviolet index. Local, state, and federal law enforcement officials agreed to relax the ban on sunscreen at Churchill's request.

"We appreciate their flexibility," said Churchill general manager Jim Gates.

A complete list of banned items is available on the "Track News" section of churchilldowns.com.

- additional reporting by Byron King and Jay Privman