06/01/2010 11:00PM

Blinkers off may help Land of the Giants


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Land of the Giants is a conspicuously named colt, one who lived up to his billing two starts back by winning a first-level allowance race at Keeneland by 15 lengths. The sequel wasn't nearly as big, however, as Land of the Giants was humbled in his May 13 return at Churchill Downs, fading to fifth as an even-money favorite on the raise in conditions.

A subtle equipment change will be in the offing Friday at Churchill, where Land of the Giants will try to make amends for that latest disappointment in the 10th of 11 races, a $52,500 second-level allowance at a one-turn mile. Trainer Todd Pletcher and his assistant Michael McCarthy will be taking off the blinkers that the 4-year-old Land of the Giants wore in those last two races.

"His Keeneland win might've been a little deceiving because of some scratches," said McCarthy. "Even then, the colt was keener than you'd like to see with the blinkers, and then the position and pace scenario weren't in his favor in the race here at Churchill. We're just trying to get him to come off the bridle a bit."

McCarthy will give a leg up on Land of the Giants to Calvin Borel, who rode Super Saver to victory for Pletcher in the 136th Kentucky Derby on May 1. The Borel-Pletcher combination also clicked last weekend at Churchill when Ailalea captured the Grade 3 Dogwood Stakes.

Land of the Giants, a son of Giant's Causeway owned by Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor, will break from post 1 in a field of eight in the Friday feature, one of four allowances on the twilight card. Omniscient and Glenwood Canyon look like the main challengers.

In those earlier allowances, all with small fields:

* Starlite Starbrite, never worse than second, faces Paris Heiress, unbeaten in two starts, in a $52,500 sprint for 3-year-old fillies (race 2).

* Danzon, an earner of more than $450,000, seeks a repeat score in a $55,000 filly and mare turf route (race 3).

* Absinthe Minded and Azurite head a $50,000 first-level main-track route for 3-year-old fillies (race 7).

First post Friday is 2:45 p.m. Eastern. This is the last twilight card of the meet, as four Friday night programs help wind down the meet on June 11, 18, 25, and July 2.