11/19/2003 12:00AM

Full house makes tough call


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The last time Churchill Downs hosted a second-level turf allowance for older horses, pretty much everyone came to the party.

In fact, the margin from first to eighth was barely more than two lengths in that Nov. 1 race, illustrating just how well matched the Kentucky grass horses happen to be in that prevailing two-other-than category. So when the $50,000 feature is run under similar conditions Friday at Churchill, it should come as little surprise if both the wagering and results are as scrambled as what occurred nearly three weeks ago.

A full field of 10, plus six also-eligibles, is what Churchill is offering in its ninth of 10 Friday races, and although none of those main-body horses is returning from the Nov. 1 cavalry charge, this group also brings forth credentials that appear to be remarkably even. Any of a handful could vie for favoritism or the victory, so racing luck and a variety of other subtle factors probably will come into play before the outcome of the one-mile race is decided.

Camp David, a close second for this same condition on Oct. 18 at Keeneland, drew the hedge as one of the logical choices. Although somewhat of a disappointment since being privately purchased by Niall O'Callaghan, the 4-year-old colt still appears plenty capable of going through this condition.

Permiso was terrific in winning an entry-level race at Keeneland in his last start. One of five 3-year-olds among the 10 in the main body, Permiso has developed an effective late run for trainer Jimmy Baker.

Titanium Ghost performed so well for Bill Mott last summer in New York that he was made the 4-5 favorite in a similar two-other-than allowance at Keeneland on Oct. 11. He will have to do better than that day, when he finished seventh.

Stardan continues to get closer to the winner's circle since having arrived in Kentucky from California this spring, having been narrowly beaten in a three-horse photo in an Oct. 9 race at Keeneland.

Justlikedawg is a reliable closer for Tom Amoss, and his recent work pattern suggests he could be ready to fire fresh. He last raced Sept. 20 at Arlington Park.

Everything to Gain might be the best horse in the race, but the 4-year-old gelding has been away nearly a year for Dale Romans.

One other allowance (race 6) also is carded for Friday, when first post is 12:40 p.m. Eastern.