11/24/2008 12:00AM

Fri Guy returns after lengthy layoff


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Dale Romans ran one of his Breeders' Cup horses back for the first time Saturday when Thorn Song faded to eighth as the favorite in the River City Handicap. Thorn Song had made his previous start in the Oct. 25 BC Mile at Santa Anita.

Romans is hoping for a better result Wednesday when running another Breeders' Cup horse back for the first time. In this case, however, he will be saddling one that last raced in the 2007 Breeders' Cup at Monmouth Park: Fri Guy, who drew post 1 in the $46,000 allowance feature.

Fri Guy, said Romans, "had some problems" after finishing seventh by 11 lengths to English Channel in the 2007 BC Turf.

"He's all healed up now, ready to go," Romans said. "He's fresh, so I'd expect him to show speed coming back."

Fri Guy, a 5-year-old horse owned by Zayat Stables, is part of an overflow field entered in the 1 1/8-mile turf race. Robby Albarado has the mount on Fri Guy, who is eligible for the two-other-than race conditions by having won just twice in 14 career starts but who nonetheless ran in four Grade 1 events in 2007.

If Fri Guy can't win off the bench, the Wednesday feature could fall any number of ways. Jamaludin has thrived since being claimed by the meet-leading tandem of owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey and trainer Mike Maker. My Happiness shortens back in distance after recently facing rugged company in Grade 3 marathons. And Hard Strike and On the Virg both stand to benefit in a big way from their respective last starts at Keeneland.

In all, 13 were entered, although only as many as 10 can start if the race stays on the grass.

One other allowance directly precedes the ninth-race feature on the 10-race Wednesday card. Swans Nest, returning from an eight-month layoff for Albarado and trainer Ian Wilkes, figures to draw plenty of action when facing seven other fillies and mares in the $44,100 entry-level race at six furlongs. Kiawah's Magic, narrowly beaten by the Wilkes-trained Nursery Rhyme in a similar race here Oct. 29, and Coy Cat, a maiden winner in her 14th and most recent start, look like the chief threats.

The Wednesday program is the last of the meet with a first post of 12:40 p.m. Eastern. The remaining three cards, Thursday through Saturday, will start at 11:30 a.m.