11/04/2009 12:00AM

Devil by Design: Morning glory or more?

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Although Devil by Design did not race at Keeneland last month, she caught the eyes of observers there during morning training hours. She worked over the Polytrack main track there three times, and each time drew rave reviews from Keeneland clockers, who noted her spirited finishes and gallop-outs on the Keeneland website.

On Thursday when she heads a field of nine in the featured eighth race at Churchill Downs - a $50,000 second-level allowance at seven furlongs on the dirt - she will have an opportunity to show that her sharp form extends beyond the morning hours.

Most indications are that it will. Devil by Design, a 3-year-old filly by the hot young sire Medaglia d'Oro, has excelled in her last two starts, winning a first-level allowance at Saratoga in fast time in mid-August before finishing a clear second in the Cat Chat Stakes at Belmont Park behind the talented Malibu Prayer on Sept. 23.

Although beaten by 6 3/4 lengths in the Cat Chat, she posted a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 86 in a quick mile race that Malibu Prayer won in 1:33.90.

Kent Desormeaux, aboard for her last three starts, returns in the irons for trainer Bill Mott and owners John Gunther, Eurowest Bloodstock Services, and Tony Chedraoui.

Heading the opposition is Bhangaloo Ruby, a winner of 2 of 3 starts who returned from a lengthy layoff to win a fast six-furlong race over Polytrack last month in 1:09.76.

Bhangaloo Ruby has won on dirt and Polytrack, and came back to work a sharp half-mile in 48.60 seconds at Keeneland on Oct. 28. Eddie Kenneally trains, and Julien Leparoux rides.

Other contenders include Summer Flight, coming off three consecutive runner-up finishes; stakes winner Elusive Sparkle; and stakes droppers Mein Fraulein and Ms. Margaret H.

* Also Thursday at Churchill Downs is a first-level grass allowance at 1 1/16 miles that goes as the ninth race. It drew a field of 10, plus five also-eligibles, and many of the entrants appear evenly matched.

Based on grass accomplishments, Corredor Dela Isla, Whitley, and Justy appear likely to start among the favorites.

Corredor Dela Isla, whose only grass race resulted in a victory this summer at Arlington Park, may rate a slight edge returning to his preferred surface after being bumped and carried wide in an off-the-turf race last month on Keeneland Polytrack.