06/20/2005 12:00AM

Big names lacking, but action isn't


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - So what if it's your basic entry-level allowance with horses hardly anyone has heard of? Not only did the Wednesday feature at Churchill Downs draw a full and evenly matched field, but it looks like one of those five-furlong turf races that tends to produce a thrill a second.

Indeed, this turf sprint, the ninth of 10 Wednesday races here, promises to have fast action. An overflow group of fillies and mares will vie for a $49,600 purse, and before it's run in 58 seconds, give or take a few ticks, there will surely be plenty of patches of grass being flung up and about.

As usual, leading trainer Dale Romans is well represented in the race. From 12 entries, including one main-track-only, Romans has two runners, and both appear to be solid contenders: Bojangle's Cat and Esplanade.

A 4-year-old filly owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, Bojangle's Cat has not raced in 19 months but has been working very well for her return. "She's had some problems, obviously, but she was good enough to break her maiden the first time she ran, at Saratoga [in August 2003], and this looked like the right kind of spot for her to come back," said Romans.

Mark Guidry, the first-call rider for the Romans stable, will be aboard .

, a 3-year-old King of Kings filly owned by Don Dizney, won her only start when earning an 80 Beyer Speed Figure on May 30 in a dirt sprint at Churchill. Ridden by Robby Albarado, who has the mount again Wednesday, Esplanade led throughout that career debut and held on to win by a nose.

"She's fast and has a turf pedigree," said Romans.

Other logical contenders in the Wednesday feature include , who was second in a similar spot nearly two weeks ago and will be ridden again by leading jockey Rafael Bejarano, and the newly claimed Favorite Girl, trained by Tom Amoss.

The pick six carryover into the Wednesday card is $4,712. As usual, the weekly handicapping contest will be held on races 3 through 8. First post is 1:15 p.m. Eastern.

* The lone stakes here this coming weekend is the $150,000 Aristides Breeders' Cup Handicap on Saturday. Battle Won, winner of the Churchill Downs Handicap, and the Steve Asmussen-trained Bwana Charlie are among the older horses being pointed to the six-furlong race.