06/04/2001 11:00PM

Five Delights may still be stakes material


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - After Five Delights posted two sensational victories to open her career last summer, trainer William "Jinks" Fires thought he might have the best horse from an equine family that has produced winner after winner.

But Five Delights, a 4-year-old filly by Seeking the Gold out of Fun Flight, a blue hen owned by Patricia Blass, was defeated in her next six starts. Finally, on May 23, Five Delights broke her losing streak by capturing a second-level allowance at Churchill Downs, confirming her trainer's long-held faith in her.

"We actually thought about the Test Stakes for her after she won those first two," said Fires. "But we ended up deciding against it. We've been trying to get her some 'black type.' We're not finished with her yet."

Thursday, Five Delights will attempt to earn her way into stakes company when facing five other fillies and mares in a $50,700 allowance at six furlongs. The feature goes as the ninth of 10 races.

Five Delights will be ridden by Fires's son-in-law, Jon Court.

Aisle Runner will be ridden by apprentice Kris Prather, who was scheduled to return from an 11-week layoff Wednesday after recovering from an injury.

One other allowance, an intriguing five-furlong turf race for seasoned older horses, directly precedes the feature as the eighth race. Twilight first post is 3 p.m. Eastern.

Jefferson Cup weekend's top race

The lone stakes of the coming weekend is the $250,000 Jefferson Cup, a 1 1/8-mile turf race that typically serves as a key prelude to the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes, which will be run Aug. 18 at Churchill's sister track, Arlington Park.

Top 3-year-olds probable for the Jefferson Cup include Strategic Partner, winner of the Crown Royal American Turf, and Kalu, winner of the Forerunner Stakes.

The Jefferson Cup will precede the Belmont Stakes simulcast on an 11-race Saturday card. As usual, wagering on the Belmont will be available through separate pools at Churchill, meaning fans will be able to choose between two different commingled signals when betting the race.

o Nominations were released Tuesday for the $750,000 Stephen Foster Handicap and the three other stakes on the June 16 program - the $300,000 Fleur de Lis Handicap, the $150,000 Regret Stakes, and the $100,000 Northern Dancer Handicap. The Grade 2 Foster is expected to be headed by Captain Steve and Unshaded.