11/23/2009 12:00AM

Familiar foes meet on the turf

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Take any race anywhere, and there's often a subplot or two involved. The richest race on the lone Tuesday card of the Churchill Downs fall meet provides a good example.

A $52,000, third-level turf route that goes as the seventh of 10 races, the Tuesday feature has five of its nine starters exiting the same key event: a Nov. 6 turf race at Churchill won by Pop Tarrt. Of the quintet wheeling back here Tuesday, Princeville Condo performed best, rallying to finish second, well ahead of the rest.

Among those trailing the top two in the Nov. 6 race were Why Tonto (fourth) and Sam P. (seventh). And that's where the plot thickens.

Why Tonto is owned by the Starlight Stable partnership that includes Jack Wolf, who cut a deal last year to sell Sam P., a horse that ran ninth in the 2007 Kentucky Derby under the royal blue and yellow Starlight silks. Wolf claims Sam P. was sold only as a breeding prospect, so when the new connections of the 5-year-old horse put him back in training last summer, Wolf filed suit.

Joel Turner, the attorney representing new owner Nelson Clemmens and other involved parties, said the language involved in the terms of the sale was not sufficiently clear to preclude Sam P. from returning to racing. An appeals court judge ultimately sided with Turner, and although there is further litigation pending, Sam P. will make his second start following a one-year layoff when trainer Buff Bradley saddles him Tuesday.

All that behind-the-scenes drama aside, it looks like Why Tonto will be a pace player in the Tuesday race, with Princeville Condo, returning from Chicago for trainer Michele Boyce, the logical one to hold off. Jamaludin and Silver Mountain also look like they could have a say.

One other allowance (race 9) is carded for Tuesday. Cruisin'nthebridle, with Robby Albarado riding for trainer Mike Maker, might rule a slight choice in a full and well-matched field of turf fillies.

* First post Tuesday and Wednesday at Churchill is 12:40 p.m. Eastern. Twelve races will be carded on each of the last three days of the meet (Thursday to Saturday), with first post moving to 11:30 a.m. Live action on the Kentucky circuit moves to Turfway Park on Sunday.