05/25/2006 12:00AM

Count on Just Michel in Classen


Just Michel, a 6-year-old who has been in the money in 27 of her 34 starts and has won 16, should rule an odds-on choice when she faces eight Ohio-bred fillies and mares over six furlongs in the $50,000 Dr. T.F. Classen Memorial Handicap at Thistledown.

Just Michel has won 3 of her 4 starts this year, all at Beulah Park. In her last start, May 6, she won the restricted Alyssa Handicap.

Just Michel likes to settle into stride before doing her best running, and a quick early pace would enhance her chances. She is trained by Michael Nance and will have her regular rider, Edgar Paucar, aboard.

Just Michel's main opposition should come from Imahoneytoo and Spring Cat.

Imahoneytoo finished fourth in a six-furlong restricted handicap in her last start here on May 12 and third in her seasonal debut against allowance sprinters. On Saturday, she drops back into the Ohio-bred division for the first time this year. Imahoneytoo is trained by her owner, Richard Zielinski, and will be ridden by leading rider Scott Spieth.

Spring Cat tired to fifth after setting the pace in an open allowance sprint in her seasonal debut here April 28 and should improve with this return to the Ohio-bred stakes division. Weldon Cloninger Jr. rides.

Canterbury: Mr. d'Or faces many he's beaten

Five 3-year-old colts were entered in the $40,000 St. Paul Stakes, the featured event at Canterbury Park.

Mr. d'Or may prove the favorite in the six-furlong St. Paul. A winner of two races at Tampa this winter, Mr. d'Or bested several other members of the St. Paul field in his last outing, when he prevailed in a front-running effort in the Shecky Greene Handicap at Arlington three weeks ago. Dale Bennett trains Mr. d'Or, who will be ridden by Dean Butler.

Also running is Lissa's Star, who finished third behind Mr. d'Or in the Shecky Greene. A winner of a statebred stakes at Houston in April, Lissa's Star has the stalking style that fits the Canterbury Park surface.

Celluloid Hero finished fifth, beaten three lengths, in the Shecky Greene in his last start. A winner of the Dixieland Stakes at Oaklawn in January, Celluloid Hero didn't menace Lawyer Ron in a subsequent outing in the Southwest Stakes there, but finished second in the Lost Code Stakes at Hawthorne in April.

Garbu Road is another Oaklawn shipper who was entered in the St. Paul. A pace-pressing type, Garbu Road won twice at Oaklawn before fading in the Northern Spur Breeders' Cup Handicap in his last outing, which was also his first try at two turns.

Yourmoneysnogood ships from Prairie Meadows. In his last start, he bested older rivals in an allowance contest.

Louisiana Downs: Betnow the one to beat

Trainer Steve Asmussen and jockey Luis Quinonez have won at a 38-percent rate together in the last 1 1/2 years at Louisiana Downs. Saturday, they will team with Betnow in the track's featured seventh race, an optional claimer for horses bred in Louisiana.

The seven-furlong race is subbing as the feature after the scheduled stakes, the $50,000 Chapel Belle for 3-year-old fillies on turf, drew an insufficient number of entries Wednesday.

Betnow comes into the optional claimer off a second-place finish in a one-mile allowance at Evangeline Downs on March 15. He has worked well since then, including a three-furlong work in 36.80 seconds last week at Louisiana Downs.

Betnow, who has a strong closing kick, owns the highest last-out Beyer Speed Figure in Saturday's field, a 79.

The chief threat could be Ponopaan, who last winter won the $50,000 Starter on the Louisiana Champions Day program at the Fair Grounds meet at Louisiana Downs. He encountered some trouble last out when third in a $30,000 claiming race. Trainer Cole Norman has given the mount to Carlos Gonzalez.

* Bubba's Quest, a 5-year-old half-brother to April's Lucky Boy, will make his career debut in the second, a competitive maiden special weight over six furlongs.

- Mary Rampellini

Prairie Meadows: Seekingthereinbow eyes stakes

Undefeated in three starts, Seekingthereinbow goes for her first stakes victory when she heads a field of seven Iowa-bred 3-year-old fillies in the $55,000-added Bob Bryant Stakes at Prairie Meadows.

Trained by Kelly Von Hemel, Seekingthereinbow began her career with a 5 3/4-length victory over maiden special weight company at Oaklawn Park on April 2. She has since scored two allowance wins here over older rivals, each by over five lengths, including a wire-to-wire 5 1/4-length win last out in a second-level statebred allowance contest. Jockey Perry Compton has a return call in the Bob Bryant, which is run at six furlongs.

The biggest threat to Seekingthereinbow may be Thekatcamehome, who rallied to score a 3 1/4-length victory here last week in a one-mile allowance contest. Trained by Dick Clark, the all-time leading trainer at Prairie Meadows, Thekatcamehome has the most wins of any entrant in the Bryant, having won 4 of her 8 starts, including last September's Prairie Meadows Debutante at six furlongs. Thekatcamehome is coupled in the wagering with Orphan Gal.

Louis Leggs captured the $75,000 Iowa Sorority here in August 2005. Trained by Ray Tracy, Louis Leggs has started only once since the Sorority, finishing sixth against allowance company here May 16. Terry Thompson, who rode Louis Leggs in the Sorority, has the call Saturday.

- Dave Basler