10/09/2006 11:00PM

Frankel in the thick of two allowances


LEXINGTON, Ky. - The frigid whispers of approaching winter were supposed to reach the Bluegrass region Wednesday night, meaning the nine-race Thursday card will have a dramatically different feel than what Keeneland fans were fortunate enough to experience during a terrific first few days of the fall meet.

No big deal. Despite temperatures in the mid-40's, the action should still be hot, with big fields and the usual classy brand of racing on tap. Three allowance races are among the offerings, including two in which Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel figures prominently.

Frankel will send out the morning-line favorite in the eighth-race feature, a $56,000 third-level allowance sprint that drew a field of 11 fillies and mares. Frankel will be represented by Indian Flare, a Juddmonte Farms homebred who tried and failed graded stakes company in her last two starts after easily knocking out her second allowance condition on Aug. 3 at Saratoga.

Indian Flare, with Rafael Bejarano to ride, will break from post 3 in the Thursday feature, which is set for 6o1/2 furlongs over Polytrack. Among her more capable opponents are Platinee, a Bill Mott-trained filly who already has two seconds and a third from three tries at this level; Fast Deal, a D. Wayne Lukas-trained filly entered off a game win over Polytrack at Turfway; Miss Belga Bound, who will be making her first start for Michael Matz after having been sidelined for more than 15 months; and Cachinnated, a filly trained by Tom Amoss with a high turn of speed.

Frankel also could be the man to beat earlier in the day when he sends out Cotton King as the likely favorite in a $52,000 first-level allowance (race 3).

Cotton King, a Stronach Stable homebred by Awesome Again, has recorded Beyer Speed Figures of 93, 94, and 91 in his last three races, and those numbers would seem to give him an edge over his seven rivals. Cotton King, who is passing the Bryan Station Stakes on Sunday in favor of this spot, also will break from post 3 with Bejarano aboard.

Two other 3-year-olds would seem to pose the biggest threat: Sky Diving, who will be making his first start since having returned to the Paul McGee stable following several solid efforts out West, and Forest Blue, whose only race resulted in a very game victory and an 85 Beyer Figure.

One other allowance (race 7), a $54,000 turf route for older horses, also is part of a Thursday card that begins at 1:15 p.m. Eastern.