08/04/2003 11:00PM

Delicada rematch goes early


You'd better get to Louisiana Downs on time Thursday if you want to see the feature race. The best race of the day goes as the first on a 12-race program, and it appears to be a rematch of the one-two finishers from last month's $50,000 Delicada Stakes - Blue Guru and McKinney.

Also in the 1 1/16-mile optional claiming race, which drew six fillies and mares, is Due to Win, the top older female of the meet last year, who finished fourth in the Delicada.

Blue Guru has won stakes races in her last two starts. Trained by Shane Wilson, she won the $25,000 Manor Downs Distaff by more than six lengths on May 10. She returned to lead throughout the 1 1/16-mile Delicada on July 19.

If Blue Guru races on the lead again Thursday, she might face more pace pressure, something that would benefit McKinney. Favored in the Delicada, McKinney was forced to race closer to the pace than usual when Blue Guru set controlled fractions. But the scenario could be different this time with the presence of two other speed horses, Autobesarah and Storm's Finale, who is coupled with McKinney.

In her last start, Storm's Finale won a turf allowance race wire-to-wire at Louisiana Downs.

Lonnie Meche has the mount on McKinney, who won the $50,000 Bayakoa at Oaklawn in April for trainer Steve Asmussen.

Kool Humor to Super Derby

Kool Humor, who finished sixth behind Peace Rules in the $1 million Haskell Invitational on Saturday, will make his next in the Grade 2, $500,000 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 20, said his owner, Tom Durant.

Prior to the Haskell, Kool Humor won the $100,000 Alysheba Breeders' Cup at Lone Star Park. He was scheduled to be flown back to his Texas base from Monmouth on Tuesday.

"He pulled up great," Durant said. "We just didn't get the race out of him that we thought we were going to get."

Before the Alysheba, Kool Humor won a one-mile allowance race at Lone Star and also finished third in the track's $200,000 USA Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on turf, a race won by the Super Derby-bound Crowned King.

Another of Durant's top 3-year-olds, Most Feared, will skip the Super Derby and be pointed for races this fall. The colt hasn't started since May 10, when he finished a troubled second to Dynever in the Grade 3, $500,000 Lone Star Derby.

"He's got some sore feet we're working through; nothing serious," Durant said.

Last year, Most Feared won the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Futurity. Both he and Kool Humor are based at Retama with trainer Jack Bruner.

Plans pending for Front Nine

The next start for Front Nine, winner of the $35,000 J.R. Straus Memorial on Friday night at Retama, is yet to be determined, but trainer Tommie Morgan said a long-term goal is Retama's $35,000 Longhorn Handicap on the Texas Hall of Fame night card Oct. 4.

"We really haven't sat down and tried to pinpoint his next race," Morgan said.

Front Nine has won seven races, and with the exception of his maiden score, they have come in stakes races. This year, he has been on top of his game, with wins in the $50,000 Carter McGregor at Lone Star and the Straus.

* A free online handicapping contest at www.retamapark.com will begin Thursday. Last year, 400 people participated in the meet-long contest, which challenges players to pick one winner a day at Retama. The player with the most winners at the end of the meet wins the first-place prize of $1,000.