06/25/2008 11:00PM

Debutante heavy on last-out winners


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Only one can win, which is precisely the opposite of how the 10 fillies in the Grade 3 Debutante Stakes enter the race. All but one were winners in their respective last starts, all of them maiden special weight races, a remarkable statistic underscored by the fact that the possible Debutante favorite, Garden District, is the only one who didn't win last out.

Clearly, something has to give in the $100,000 Debutante, which will be run for the 108th time Saturday at Churchill Downs. Garden District, trained by Todd Pletcher, was a sharp runner-up against male rivals in the Grade 3 Kentucky Stakes, and therefore stands a solid chance in the Debutante.

Garden District made a splashy debut by winning at Keeneland in April, then wheeled back three weeks later to finish second in the May 1 Kentucky Stakes, the only stakes for 2-year-olds so far at the spring meet.

"Knowing the Debutante was later in the meet, Todd decided to leave her here after he took most of the top horses out of here after the Derby," said Pletcher assistant Michael McCarthy. "She's trained very, very well, and we're excited about getting to run her back."

Among the better-looking challengers to Garden District in the six-furlong Debutante are the uncoupled Steve Asmussen duo of Songtress and Simplify, both of whom earned lofty Beyer Speed Figures at Churchill in winning their first and only starts.

Songtress, owned by the Heiligbrodt Racing Stable, earned an 80 Beyer in drawing off by 2 3/4 lengths here May 22. Simplify, owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds, got a race-high 89 Beyer when she was unveiled here on the Kentucky Stakes undercard. Songtress and Simplify will start alongside each other in posts 2 and 3.

Asmussen has won the Debutante four times, including the last three runnings with Effectual (2005), Richwoman (2006), and Rated Fiesty (2007).

Among the other logical contenders are Rachel Alexandra, a 1o1/4-length winner here June 13 for Hal Wiggins; Cameron Crazies, a gutsy winner for D. Wayne Lukas on May 29; and a pair of fillies coming off Calder victories, Renda and Runaway Heart.

The Debutante is the 10th of 11 races on a Saturday card that also includes two turf allowances (races 7 and 9). First post is 1:15 p.m. Eastern.

The Debutante is the sister race to the Bashford Manor Stakes, which will be run next Saturday, July 5, as one of three stakes on closing weekend. The July 4 Firecracker Handicap and July 6 Locust Grove Handicap also help bring the curtain down.

A single six-figure winner

One winning ticket worth $107,647 was sold on the Super Hi Five on the last race Wednesday at Churchill Downs. The ticket was bought through the Racing Gaming Services hub, according to Churchill officials.

The Wednesday payoff was the highest so far at Churchill for the bet, and the third-largest in North America, following two payoffs at Santa Anita. This is the first meet at Churchill for the Super Hi Five, a $1 minimum bet.

A one-day carryover of $39,777 already was in the Super Hi Five jackpot going into Wednesday, after which an additional $84,146 was wagered.