05/15/2005 11:00PM

Day gets good spot for return


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The most fitting way for the most dominant jockey in Churchill Downs history to return from a rare layoff is obvious - with a victory. So when Pat Day and his agent, Doc Danner, were trying to pin down the best time and race for Day's return, they were hoping to have a good chance to win right away.

Their mission has been accomplished, it seems. Day, who postponed his return to the saddle by several days, taking off three scheduled mounts Saturday, is named on two horses Wednesday, including a horse who figures very tough to beat in the ninth-race feature.

, trained by Bobby Frankel, looks like a deserving favorite in the feature, a $60,800 turf allowance for older horses. After returning from France last year and turning in a disappointing effort in his U.S. debut, Silver Traffic has been on the doorstep of success, having run three good races in defeat, all against rugged company in Southern California.

Wednesday afternoon, when he is part of a 10-horse field, Silver Traffic and Day will break from post 5 when traveling 1 1/16 miles on the Churchill turf course. A repeat of any of Silver Traffic's efforts at Santa Anita, all of which earned solid Beyer Figures, might be good enough to win this.

Day, who has been sidelined since March 5 with an aggravated hip socket that required surgery, has been working horses for the past week at Churchill, including several for Frankel, a fellow Hall of Fame member.

The biggest threats to Silver Traffic are . Eleven horses were entered, although one of them, Be Like Mike, will race only if the race is run on the main track.

Day's first mount actually will come hours earlier, when he climbs aboard Silver Poker in the Wednesday opener. Silver Poker, trained by Ken McPeek, ran poorly in her lone start, but she is dropping into far easier company and being fitted with her first claiming tag.

One other allowance race, a $49,600 entry-level allowance for fillies and mares, precedes the feature as the eighth race. Top contenders in that race, which is slated for 7 1/2 furlongs on the main track, include Cupid's Dixie, Wind Surf, and Steal the Show.

First post is 1:15 p.m. Eastern.