06/17/2002 11:00PM

Flint tries quick strike with claim

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The old saying that "one man's trash is another man's treasure" seems applicable to flea markets, yard sales, and, yes, even claiming races.

Only six days before the eighth-race co-feature will be run Thursday at Churchill Downs, trainer Neil Howard put Bubba's Colors on the proverbial racetrack trash heap. Howard had grown weary of seeing Bubba's Colors, a 4-year-old by A.P. Indy out of Two Altazano, continually squander his wonderful pedigree, so he ran the colt in a never-won-two claimer for $25,000.

Predictably, Bubba's Colors won rather easily as the odds-on favorite in his first start for a tag, the third race here last Friday. Just as predictably, a "pill shake" transpired afterward in the claiming office, with Bernie Flint coming away as the new trainer and co-owner of Bubba's Colors.

The next day, Howard rationalized his move, saying that Flint almost surely got at least his money's worth while saying that Bubba's Colors has some limitations. Howard, as the trainer for the prominent Kentucky breeder Will Farish, often has to cull his stock in order to bring new horses into the stable, and such a trade-off is well within his method of operations, not to mention highly logical.

Meanwhile, Flint is wasting little time trying to recoup his investment on Bubba's Colors. The colt is one of six in the eighth race, a $42,600 allowance, and he actually appears to have as good a chance to win as any.

Ochoco and Kentucky Squall are other main contenders in the 1 1/16-mile race, which directly precedes the other co-feature, the ninth race, a turf allowance that drew a field of 10 3-year-olds.

First post is 3:10 p.m.

Snow Dance drops into Locust Grove

Snow Dance, back from a failed effort in the Grade 1 Gamely Breeders' Cup at Hollywood, is expected to be the starting highweight Saturday in the $150,000 Locust Grove Handicap.

Snow Dance, trained by John T. Ward Jr., will carry 119 pounds in the Grade 3 Locust Grove. At least eight are expected. Among the other contenders are Crazy Ensign (118), Megans Bluff (118), Blue Moon (116), and Solvig (116).

The Locust Grove, a 1 1/8-mile turf race for fillies and mares, is the lone stakes here this weekend.

Churchill will host its annual World Showcase Festival this weekend, featuring food and entertainment from many locales. The event is set for the Marquee Village area just inside of Gate 10.

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