11/07/2011 1:54PM

Churchill Downs: Lady Aspen looking sharp off last


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Once the Breeders’ Cup and all its monumental buildup have come and gone at Churchill Downs, it’s hard to make a big deal out of a 10-race Wednesday card. Regulars will just have to suck it up by trying to make a score while betting on considerably less accomplished horses than those who graced the grounds over the last week-plus – not all bad, considering there are far less pleasant ways to spend a Wednesday afternoon.

A $50,000, second-level turf allowance serves as the featured fare on the card, with Lady Aspen, a sharp last-out winner at Keeneland, likely to rank among the favorites. Ken McPeek is the trainer of Lady Aspen, whose rallying triumph in an Oct. 20 Polytrack route came 12 days after the 3-year-old filly reared at the start to lose all chance in a similar spot.


“She was just so full of energy coming into the fall meet at Keeneland,” said McPeek. “She really vindicated herself with that last win after what had happened on opening weekend of the meet. She came out of the last race real well and should have another good strong one in her.”

Lady Aspen, with Robby Albarado back to ride, will start from post 5 in a field that figures to max out at eight starters. Maid of Heaven, Exclusive Love, and Lily Again look like the top challengers, assuming the featured ninth of 10 races stays on the grass.

The feature is scheduled for 1 1/8 miles, although the local forecast calls for a 70-percent chance of rain for Wednesday. In that case, Secret Wish, a recent Canadian arrival, might well draw in as a main contender with her “main track only” designation for new trainer Helen Pitts.

One allowance is carded much earlier in the day as race 2. It, too, is scheduled for turf, at 1 1/16 miles, and it’s also in jeopardy of having to be transferred to the main track in case of rain. As it stands, Monastic, Burn the Mortgage, and Saturday Launch look like the top threats in a field of promising 2-year-olds.

There are no carryovers for the Wednesday card after pools in the $2 pick six, $1 super high five, and 50-cent pick five all were emptied with the last race Sunday.

The next stakes race here comes Saturday with the Grade 2, $175,000 Mrs. Revere Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on turf.

First post Wednesday is 12:40 p.m. Eastern.