06/04/2006 11:00PM

In a Flash takes a drop

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Since the Keeneland meet began in early April, Julien Leparoux and Rafael Bejarano have been nearly inseparable on the Kentucky circuit - in the win department, anyway.

Leparoux and Bejarano tied for the Keeneland riding title, and, remarkably enough, after 27 programs at the Churchill Downs spring meet, they are just one win apart. Having gone back and forth on the lead last week, Leparoux recaptured the top spot, 43-42, by winning three races to Bejarano's one on Sunday.

The final Sunday victory for Leparoux, a 22-year-old apprentice who also leads the overall win standings in North America, came in a turf allowance aboard Pyrana, trained by Patrick Biancone. It just so happens that when racing at Churchill resumes Wednesday following the customary two-day break, Leparoux will ride for Biancone in the featured eighth race, a $58,000 turf allowance for 3-year-olds and upward.

In a Flash, an Irish-bred 3-year-old owned by Dorean Tabor, is one of about 20 horses that Biancone has stabled nearly two hours north of Churchill at Turfway Park, where they train over a Polytrack surface that Biancone often has raved about. Biancone's primary string is based at Saratoga, from where the horses have been shipping mostly to Belmont Park to race.

does not appear to be in particularly good form, but in his defense, he raced against some of the top 3-year-old grass horses on the circuit when he finished ninth, fifth and sixth in the Rushaway, Transylvania, and Forerunner Stakes. The drop back to allowance company figures to make In a Flash a major player in his return to action Wednesday.

Other logical contenders in the feature, which goes as the eighth of nine races, include , a Dallas Stewart-trained 3-year-old who has raced primarily in stakes and will make his turf debut Wednesday; and Buckeye Buddy, a consistent sort whose last victory came over the Churchill turf last spring.

Two of the nine entries, Prayer Service and Scion, are designated as "main track only," meaning only as many as seven will start if the race stays on turf.

Bejarano does not have a mount in the feature but is named to ride in four earlier races.

* Churchill's weekly handicapping contest is being held Wednesday on races 3 through 8.