09/06/2003 12:00AM

Don't Countess Out defends Turfway win


Don't Countess Out repeated as champion Saturday in the Weekend Delight Stakes at Turfway Park, driving from just off the pace to win by 2 3/4 lengths over For Rubies.

Owned by Southern Pride Stable and trained by Larry Jones, Don't Countess Out was always in contention before striding out to take command inside the eighth pole. Ridden by Terry Thompson, she returned $23.20 after finishing six furlongs in 1:10.58 over a fast track.

For Rubies, whose last two races were plagued by poor starts, had no such trouble Saturday. She took over for front-running Emily Ring leaving the quarter pole but had no response for Don't Countess Out while still finishing a length clear of Born to Dance.

Vicki Vallencourt, who handily defeated Don't Countess Out in their last meeting, the Aug. 10 Ellis Park Breeders' Cup, was the 4-5 favorite in the field of eight fillies and mares. She finished fourth after making a mild bid turning for home.

Don't Countess Out, a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred by Take Me Out, won the Weekend Delight last September by three lengths under Thompson. She now has earned $343,951 from 22 career starts.