06/08/2008 11:00PM

Fitness a key in allowance


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A first-level allowance in June will typically comprise a few recent maiden winners, some regular allowance competitors, and maybe a horse or two returning from a stay on the sidelines.

Wednesday's eighth race at Churchill Downs, a $43,100 entry-level allowance at six furlongs for 3-year-olds, breaks out of the usual mold. Six of the nine entrants are returning from layoffs of more than 45 days, and four of the six - Officer Frank, Motion to Strike, Fit for a Fight, and Dr. Nick - have not even raced since last year.

Fitness, as much as talent, should play a significant role in determining the outcome.

The makeup of the race would appear to benefit I'm So Lucky, a Langfuhr colt who won his third start when racing at Keeneland on April 25, a seven-length score that earned him a 90 Beyer Speed Figure.

Although off for more than a month and a half, he is proven racing "fresh" - his maiden victory came after a layoff. The colt, owned by John Oxley, also comes off two bullet works at Keeneland for trainer John Ward.

Working in his favor is his outside post and stalking style. With numerous speed horses to his inside, he should receive a favorable trip from just off the pace under jockey Robby Albarado.

Of those returning from longer breaks, Officer Frank appears one of the more capable entrants. Purchased privately by owners Richard Giacopelli, Fab Oak Stable, and Lewis Lakin last fall following a nine-length triumph versus Illinois-bred maidens at Arlington Park, he finished seventh when he subsequently started in the $250,000 Favorite Trick Stakes over a sloppy track on the undercard of the first of two Breeders' Cup racing days Oct. 26 at Monmouth Park.

He joins the barn of trainer Bob Holthus after racing for trainer Francois Parisel in the Favorite Trick.

Parisel, an assistant to trainer Patrick Biancone, ran Biancone's horses in late October after Biancone was suspended a year by the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority for medication violations.

"He is a nice looking colt," Holthus said. "He has worked well and wants to train. So we're hopeful."

Julien Leparoux rides.