11/04/2005 12:00AM

Don't hold your breath awaiting dime supers


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Surely the most ubiquitous new wager in North America this year is the 10-cent superfecta. many racetracks now sell a dime super, which allows bettors to buy more combinations at a fraction of what it would otherwise cost in $1 increments.

Arlington Park and Ellis Park, both owned by Churchill Downs Inc., sold dime supers at their respective meets this summer, but when the company's flagship track opened its fall meet on Oct. 30, Churchill declined to offer them.

"We've had requests from our customers for dime supers, but we still aren't sure that they're a net positive," said Churchill general manager Jim Gates. "We've looked very closely at the data from our tracks and from other tracks, and although handle on the supers are up, it would be reasonable to draw the conclusion that they cannibalize some of your other exotics pools. Some of those other pools are down."

When the spring meet opened in April, Churchill officials said it would be a mistake to offer dime supers on Kentucky Oaks and Derby Days, which is quite understandable. Transactions involving dime supers can be time-consuming and complicated, and any wager that unnecessarily clogs a mutuel line is the last thing Churchill needs on its biggest days.

But even on normal racedays, the track still is without them.

"Philosophically, you can certainly see the appeal for smaller players, but I don't know if that's true for your bigger gamblers," said Gates. "We don't have anything that shows dime supers to be detrimental, but we are waiting to see what happens with them, whether this is just a short-term trend or if they're something that will flourish."

Sgt. Bert tops turf sprint

The first of six $70,800 overnight stakes scheduled for the fall meet comes Sunday with the Cherokee Run, a five-furlong turf race for older horses.

Sgt. Bert, who upset Battle Won last month in the Woodford at Keeneland, looks like the logical horse to beat among 16 entered in the Cherokee Run. Rafael Bejarano, who rode Sgt. Bert for trainer Gary Montgomery in the Woodford, will be back aboard Sunday.

Only 12 horses can start.

Several rich allowance races also are on the card.

The third race, a $64,700 sprint for fillies and mares, marks the first start for Hot Storm since she won the Weekend Delight Stakes at Turfway Park in September. The seventh race, a $67,100 sprint, drew stakes winners Bwana Charlie, Premium Saltine, and Storm Surge. And the eighth race, a $60,400 turf route, includes recent Keeneland winners Watershed Event and Mesawmi.

Romans expects My Ro to run well

After Halory Leigh thoroughly dominated the competition last fall in the Churchill Distaff (now the Chilukki) and Falls City, trainer Dale Romans thought he might have a budding star on his hands.

But Halory Leigh never won another race in three tries, and is scheduled to be sold at the November breeding stock sale that begins Monday at Keeneland.

"After she won those races last fall, she just never was herself again," said Romans.

Life goes on, and Romans is back Sunday with My Ro in the 20th running of the Chilukki. My Ro has established a rather curious pattern in 11 career starts - she won four, lost three, won two, and now enters the Chilukki off two losses.

"I think she will run a lot better this weekend than she has in her last two," said Romans.

Woods back in the saddle

Jockey Charlie Woods Jr. emerged from a lengthy retirement Friday by riding Chicken Soup Kid to a last-place finish in the eighth race.

Chicken Soup Kid led early in the 6 1/2-furlong race before beating a steady fade. Nonetheless, Woods, 55, returned full of enthusiasm. "It's like I never quit," he said. "It felt great to be out there again."

Woods, who has ridden 2,860 winners in a career that began in 1974, had not ridden since March 2003. He is the fifth-leading rider in Churchill history with 748 wins.

On the opposite end of the age spectrum, 16-year-old Randall Toups notched the fourth and fifth victories of his career here this week. Toups rode Yesterdays Wine to win the sixth race Thursday and Mayan Princess to win the fifth race Friday.

Former jockey Randy Romero is the agent for Toups, whose apprentice allowance will now drop from 10 to seven pounds.

* Apprentice Dane Kobiskie is moving to Maryland, effective next Saturday. Kobiskie begins a suspension of five racing days on Sunday after declining to appeal the penalty.

* Racing will be conducted here Tuesday, the only day of the fall meet that Churchill will not be dark on a Monday or Tuesday. The meet runs through Nov. 26.