05/20/2008 11:00PM

Eight turf fillies in Regret Stakes prep


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The late-arriving crowd definitely will get the better deals Friday at Churchill Downs. Not only do the happy-hour specials begin after the third race, but easily the best races on an 11-race card are being saved for the end.

Three straight allowances - carded as races 8, 9, and 10 - form the crux of a twilight program that gets under way at 2:45 p.m. Eastern.

The eighth, a $45,200 turf race for 3-year-old fillies, is designed as a prep for the June 14 Regret Stakes. Each of the eight entrants has run in at least one stakes race, with one of them, Clearly Foxy, already having won a graded event, the Natalma last summer at Woodbine.

But with Clearly Foxy not exactly in peak form, this is a wide-open race. The main contenders appear to be Magger Bags, most recently third in the Edgewood Stakes; Oh Lovely, a two-back allowance winner at Oaklawn Park; Creative Design, a highly promising sort at 2; and C J's Leelee, who returns from a half-year layoff.

The ninth, a $47,400 sprint for fillies and mares, also drew a graded winner: Sutra, who captured the Grade 1 Frizette last fall. In seven starts since then, Sutra has been somewhat disappointing, having won just once, but several of her recent efforts would seem good enough to win here. Robby Albarado has the mount for trainer Mike Stidham.

Four of the five fillies in against Sutra all enter off victories, including Tequilas Dayjur, a sharp winner here during Kentucky Derby Week.

The 10th, a $43,100 entry-level route, drew the most recognizable name on the program: Blackberry Road, a onetime Derby hopeful. Julien Leparoux has the call from trainer David Carroll on Blackberry Road, who will start from post 3 when facing seven rivals, all but one of them older.

Track alters wagering menu

Effective Wednesday, Churchill abandoned its over-under wager while also ending the guarantees that had been offered on some pick-four pools.

The over-under, first offered here last fall, perennially drew paltry handle while available only to ontrack patrons.

Churchill had been guaranteeing a pool of $50,000 on the late pick four each weekday, and $100,000 on weekends, but because the actual handle did not surpass those amounts three times last week, the track withdrew the guarantees. Last Saturday, only $68,953 was bet into the late pick four, forcing Churchill to make up more than $30,000 in the pool.