05/16/2002 11:00PM

Fast City has troubled past

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Fast City may have had a chance to beat heavily favored Even the Score in a third-level allowance race May 1 at Churchill Downs, but "he got trapped" before settling for second, said Chuck Simon, trainer of Fast City. "It might have been a different race."

Fast City, whom Simon claimed for $30,000 for owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey nearly 18 months ago, should be able to prove that excuse was valid as the favorite Sunday in the feature race, a $64,000 turf allowance.

With Mark Guidry to ride, Fast City will break from post 1 in a full field in the 1 1/8-mile race, which occupies the customary ninth-race feature slot on a 10-race card.

The Ramseys have won or shared the owners' title at the last four Churchill meets but are off to a slow start this spring, having been blanked through the first 14 programs. "Hopefully, this will be number one," said Simon, who has trained for the Ramseys for three years.

Logical challengers in the feature include Image, Law Review, Gretchen's Star, and A.P. Delta. A maximum of 10 will be allowed to start if the race stays on turf.

Four other allowance races also are on the program.

Churchill grass lover

Dernier Croise ($8.20) went over the $500,000 career earnings mark after angling out for the stretch drive and surging past front-running Astrologist in the $48,760 feature here Thursday.

Dernier Croise, a 7-year-old gelding trained by David Carroll, was ridden by Larry Melancon. In 12 turf races at Churchill, Dernier Croise has five wins and two seconds.

"He loves this track," said Carroll.

Invisible Ink points to Foster

The connections of Invisible Ink, the 2001 Kentucky Derby runner-up who most recently won an allowance race during Derby week, have expressed an interest in running him in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap here June 15.

Thus far, Invisible Ink and Congaree, who is expected to make his seasonal debut next Monday in the Met Mile at Belmont, are the top prospects for the $750,000 Foster.

o Twenty-five years ago this month, trainers Michael Thompson and Rob O'Connor graduated together from St. Xavier High School, located some five miles from Churchill Downs. Thursday, the former classmates swept the exacta in the sixth race when Gator Maid, trained by Thompson, ran down the O'Connor-trained What'd I Say. A $2 exacta paid $149.60.