06/28/2011 2:36PM

Churchill Downs: Costly sitting on another strong race for Tomlinson

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Mike Tomlinson played college baseball, so he knows about games of inches. Racing is one of those, as Tomlinson was reminded three Thursdays ago when a filly named Costly was beaten a nose at Churchill Downs in her first try under his care.

Tomlinson will have another chance Thursday when he sends out Costly as part of a competitive field in a $65,200 second-level turf sprint, one of three allowances on a 12-race card at Churchill.

On behalf of Diamond F Racing, Tomlinson claimed the filly for $16,000 from a May 15 romp in the slop.

“I felt like we were lucky to get her in a three-way shake that day,” said Tomlinson.

Costly, with Corey Lanerie to ride, will break from post 8 as the 7-2 morning-line second-choice among nine fillies and mares in the 10th race. Among the other top contenders is Scintillation, the 3-1 favorite for trainer Ronny Werner.

“I though this race came up really tough,” said Tomlinson, an Oklahoma native who played ball at Southwestern College before graduating from Oklahoma State University in 1976. “Ronny Werner’s filly didn’t get away good at all last out, and she’s shown she can run. But this filly of ours is so solid, so honest, I can’t imagine her not running another big race.”

Tomlinson, 57, said he will “mostly stay put” in Louisville after the spring meet ends Monday. “I’ve got a few horses at Arlington already, and I’ll be sending a few more up,” he said. “Otherwise, we’ll just pick our spots, ship to run at Indiana Downs and Ellis Park.”

The Thursday card, which kicks off the final five-day stretch of the 39-day meet, includes three more races than what has been typical for Thursdays here. Churchill lost the June 23 program to the tornado that ravaged several barns in the stable area and is making up those races by parceling them out throughout this final week.

The two other Thursday allowances are both first-level races with a purse of $62,100. In the sixth race, a main-track route for 3-year-olds and upward, Shrill is listed as a lukewarm favorite in a well-matched field of seven, while the 11th race, a filly-mare sprint, looks like yet another very contentious event, with Nakano and Champagne Run the program choices in a field of 10.

First post Thursday is 12:45 p.m. Eastern, with the 12th race scheduled for 6:23.

After Thursday, remaining highlights at the meet include a 13-race Friday night program (first post, 5 p.m.); the Grade 3, $100,000 Bashford Manor Stakes on Saturday; and the Grade 2, $175,000 Firecracker Handicap on Monday.