05/21/2001 11:00PM

Feature is crap shoot in twilight on turf


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - With Morluc and Testify ineligible, a wide-open field of turf-sprint specialists should make for an entertaining feature race in the Louisville twilight at Churchill Downs Thursday.

Fifteen horses are named in the ninth of 10 Thursday races, a $58,500 allowance at five furlongs on the turf; only 10 will be allowed to start. The main body of the race is sufficiently deep that the favorite figures to be lukewarm at his lowest.

The race conditions are such that neither Morluc nor Testify, both trained by Randy Morse, are eligible. They finished one-two in the definitive turf sprint so far this meet, the Grade 3 Aegon Turf on Kentucky Oaks Day. Morluc is headed to the Lone Star Park Turf Sprint on Monday, while Testify could run in the Jaipur Stakes at Belmont on Sunday, Morse said.

Their absences could leave Final Row or Ultimate Warrior as the public choice.

Final Row, trained by Tom Amoss, has made one-turn turf races his specialty since December, when he initiated a string of competitive efforts against high-caliber allowance company. Probably his best effort came in his second-to-last start, when he finished second in the Shakertown at Keeneland. In the Aegon Turf, Final Row finished a respectable sixth, beaten four lengths.

Ultimate Warrior, trained by Bernie Flint, is somewhat questionable on grass, with just one of his 23 career starts having come on that surface. But the gray colt is plenty quick, and he does have leading rider Pat Day named.

Other contenders in the main body include Jimie Son, who probably can benefit from a recent race off a layoff; Coup, who long has done his best in turf sprints; and Smolderin Heart, who last spring won a race just like this for Terry Brennan.

First post for the Thursday program is 3 p.m. Eastern.

One other allowance and a $50,000 claiming race also are carded.

* Day and Robby Albarado, currently one-two in the Churchill jockey standings, both will ride at Belmont Monday. Albarado will ride at Lone Star Saturday. Day entered the Wednesday card with 7,986 career victories, having won a race at Prairie Meadows on Monday.

* Nasty Storm and Love at Noon are the leading candidates for the Saturday feature, the $100,000 Dogwood Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. Other probables for the 1 1/16-mile race include Golly Greeley, Happily Unbridled, and Mysia Jo.