05/08/2010 12:00AM

Big plans in store for Keertana


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The last few weeks have been particularly productive for trainer Tom Proctor, whose stable stars include Closeout, Queen of the Creek, Pari, and Keertana, all of whom have won races since the first of April.

Keertana was especially sharp in an April 11 triumph on the Keeneland turf, considering it was her first start in nearly five months and earned her a 94 Beyer Speed Figure, the highest of her 14-race career. On Sunday, Keertana will have Garrett Gomez back aboard when she tries to follow that terrific effort as the solid favorite in the richest race of the day at Churchill Downs, a $58,800 classified allowance at 1 1/16 miles on turf.

Keertana, bred and owned by Barbara Hunter, was assigned post 2 in a field of five fillies and mares in the third of 11 Sunday races. Proctor has another starter in the race, Happiness Is, a Peter Vegso homebred who will have Jon Court aboard in post 4 while racing uncoupled for wagering purposes.

Understandably, Proctor gives Keertana the edge.

"Happiness Is was good enough to win a $100,000 race last summer in Minnesota," Proctor said, referring to the Lady Canterbury in July. "But Keertana is a graded-type of filly. That race after the layoff at Keeneland was a real nice one. We're hoping to get some really good things done with her this year, so, hopefully, this race will help set her up for all that."

C.S. Silk, returning from a half-year layoff for Dale Romans, looks like the top threat to the Proctor duo. Celtic Princess and French Kiss round out the cast.

Two $50,000 allowance races also are carded for later in the day, and Robby Albarado figures prominently in both. Albarado has the mount on Easy Ashley in the ninth race, a first-level turf sprint. Easy Ashley has been no worse than third in 13 of 16 career starts. In the 10th, a first-level main-track route, Albarado rides Down With Dixie, who earlier this year defeated Endorsement in a Fair Grounds maiden race.

First post Sunday is 12:45 p.m. Eastern. Mother's Day typically attracts a considerably larger crowd than most spring Sundays at Churchill. Live racing resumes here Thursday.