05/27/2003 11:00PM

Dixie Tactics looks strong in turf race

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - When some of the best female turf sprinters in North America ventured into Kentucky this spring, Dixie Tactics and On the Fritz were waiting for them.

Trouble is, the ambush didn't work, as neither mare did much running in neither the April 19 Stravinsky at Keeneland nor the May 1 Mamzelle at Churchill Downs. So, with their egos perhaps slightly bruised and their sights definitely lowered, both have resurfaced in the Friday feature at Churchill, a $61,400 allowance at five furlongs on the turf.

Dixie Tactics, trained by Morris Nicks, won three straight races to end 2002, but when returning to action in the Stravinsky, she faded to eighth behind Repository. Wheeled right back in the five-furlong Mamzelle, she improved to fourth despite a poor start, so she must be considered the one to beat here Friday.

On the Fritz, trained by Jimmy Baker, is a two-time winner on grass, including an allowance here last spring. She was third in the Stravinsky, then regressed to sixth in the Mamzelle, but clearly the drop in class Friday could help.

In all, nine fillies and mares have been entered in the ninth of 10 Friday races, although one of them, Dove Creek, is listed as "main track only."

Perhaps the best of the rest is Silent Stream, who won here twice last fall but makes her first start in over six months. Senorita Ziggy, Sixtyone Margaux, and Paige's Boo are others with decent chances.

One other allowance, a $43,200, entry-level race for fillies and mares, directly precedes the feature. Twilight first post is 2:45 p.m. Eastern.

Look for three co-hightweights

With Honor in War waiting for the Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap at Belmont, it appears that three established stakes runners will share highweight of 117 pounds Saturday in the $100,000 Louisville Handicap: Kim Loves Bucky, Quest Star, and Rochester.

Churchill officials say they are expecting between eight and 10 older horses for the Grade 3 Louisville, a 1 3/8-mile turf race.

The Louisville will be the middle leg of an all-stakes pick three on the Churchill Downs Simulcast Network. The bet starts with the Royal Glint from Calder and ends with the Real Delight from Arlington.

* Tenpins, idle since finishing fourth in the Clark Handicap in November, had his first serious work since recovering from a foot bruise, breezing a half-mile in 49.20 seconds Tuesday.