05/06/2004 11:00PM

Fast Cookie a threat in second start back


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Older fillies and mares take the Sunday spotlight at Churchill Downs, which only seems appropriate for Mother's Day. Hundreds of Louisville families have made a tradition of taking mom to the races on the second Sunday in May, and the feature is a $64,300 allowance race called the Mother's Day purse.

, winner of the Grade 2 Cotillion Stakes last fall at Philadelphia Park, is one of the obvious contenders in the feature, the ninth of 10 Sunday races, a 1 1/16-mile turf race contested under a four-other-than restriction. Bred and owned by Stonerside Stable and trained by Bill Mott, Fast Cookie will break from post 1 in a field of six fillies and mares.

Fast Cookie will be making her second start after having been away nearly seven months following the Cotillion. In her return to action, she finished sixth following a poor start in the 11th race here Kentucky Derby Day. From limited data (35 starts), Mott shows a positive return on investment ($2.40 for every $2 bet to win) with horses making their second start after a layoff of 180 or more days, an example of Mott's Hall of Fame abilities.

Although she never has won on grass, Fast Cookie is not alone: Of the six entered here, only , a two-time winner from 18 turf starts, has ever visited the winner's circle following a turf start. On that basis alone, May Gator, with Shane Sellers riding for trainer Steve Flint, has to be considered a huge threat, especially coming out of such tough Gulfstream Park fixtures as the Honey Fox, Suwannee River, and The Very One handicaps.

Besides the two favorites, other starters in the feature include There Runs Hattie, a Blackie Huffman-trained mare who fared respectably in stakes company over the winter at Oaklawn Park; Saratoga Cat, who returns from a seven-month layoff and makes her first since being transferred into the care of trainer Dallas Stewart; Pampered, a late-running filly who came around nicely at Oaklawn for trainer Bob Holthus; and Cahill Holly, trying two turns for the first time after starting her career with 10 sprint races.

With its field of six, the feature is fairly typical of the balance of the Sunday card. Three other races offer just six betting interests, while one more has seven and three more have eight. The seventh race is the only other allowance. First post is 1:15 p.m. Eastern.