10/31/2006 12:00AM

Drop will show where Bright One stands

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - As good as Bright One was in romping to victory in three straight races, including the $750,000 West Virginia Derby, that's how bad he was in losing the Indiana Derby on Oct. 7 at Hoosier Park.

Trainer Dale Romans said he has no idea why Bright One, a 3-year-old colt, suddenly went from a budding superstar to just another also-ran when he finished seventh in the Indiana Derby.

"We sure couldn't find a legitimate excuse for him that night," said Romans. "I was as stunned as anybody."

The many horseplayers who pounded Bright One down to 3-5 odds in the Indiana Derby will have an opportunity to get a fraction of their money back Thursday, when he drops back into allowance company at Churchill Downs. Bright One will be a huge favorite over five others in the race, a $55,000 third-level allowance at 1 1/16 miles that goes as the third race on the card.

Romans said he was tempted to point Bright One to some of the major fall events after Bright One won the Aug. 6 West Virginia Derby by nearly six lengths. But the Hoosier debacle changed those plans.

"We had to go back to square one," he said. "I wanted to look for an allowance and see if he's back to where we think he is."

Bright One missed the Aug. 26 Travers Stakes because of a minor lung infection, but Romans said it wasn't anything serious. "That's why I'm not going to make any excuses for that last one," he said. "He just got beat, that's all."

Bright One will break from post 2 under Mark Guidry. He takes on a modest group that includes He's Mine, Little Cliff, Huntin Gene, Easy Money, and I'm Waiting for U.

Friday stakes attract strong fields

Fields for the two stakes that will highlight a 12-race Friday card at Churchill were drawn Tuesday, and fans turning out on Breeders' Cup eve surely will like what they see.

The $250,000 Cherokee Run (race 9) drew many of the top turf sprinters in North America - regardless of gender. Eight male runners will be joined by four females in a terrific mix of speed and class, making the Cherokee Run a bettor's delight. Among the most accomplished entrants are Nicole's Dream, Unbridled Sidney, T.D. Vance, Sgt. Bert, and Atticus Kristy.

Likewise, the $150,000 River City (race 11) drew an extremely competitive field. Art Master, a solid third when making his American debut as the favorite in the Kelso BC Mile, could be a slight favorite in a field that also includes the respective two-three finishers in the Oak Tree BC Mile, Courtnall and Lord Admiral, as well as recent Keeneland allowance winners Victory Design and Ballast.

Special first post Friday is 11:15 a.m., which also will be first post on Breeders' Cup Day. The Friday races will be called by announcers from across the country on what has become known as All-Star Announcers Day. Churchill also is offering a guaranteed pool of $100,000 for the Friday pick six.

Also on Breeders' Cup Day

Two stakes will precede the eight Breeders' Cup championships here Saturday. Magna Graduate, winner of the Clark Handicap here last fall for Todd Pletcher, is expected among the lineup for the $200,000 Ack Ack Handicap at one mile, and fillies and mares will clash in the $200,000 Very Subtle at six furlongs. Entries for both races were to be drawn Wednesday.

There will be no simulcast wagering on other racetracks on Breeders' Cup Day at Churchill.

Change Up leaning toward Golden Rod

Richard Klein, whose family owns Pocahontas Stakes winner Change Up, said Change Up is more likely to run in the Grade 2 Golden Rod on Nov. 25 than in the Delta Princess on Dec. 1 at Delta Downs.

Also possible for the Golden Rod is Dream Rush, an impressive winner of an allowance race here Sunday. Jeff Lifson, vice president of Midwest operations for Dream Rush's owner, West Point Thoroughbreds, said the Golden Rod or the Demoiselle at Aqueduct will be next.

* Unlike many of the big-name Breeders' Cup trainers who will pull up stakes after this weekend, Bobby Frankel is leaving 20 horses at Churchill through the end of the meet, Nov. 25. Frankel himself will leave for California while leaving the local string to be overseen by Chad Brown and Jose Cuevas.

* Trainer Ron Moquett said Seek Gold will miss the Nov. 24 Clark because of filling in his ankle. Seek Gold won the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap at the Churchill spring meet at 91-1.