09/18/2008 12:00AM

Golden Doc A tries to bounce back


Graded stakes winners were always expected to race at Turfway Park this fall, as usual, during the track's prestigious Sept. 27 Kentucky Cup contests. It just so happens a couple graded stakes winners are racing a week earlier than expected.

Grade 1 winner Golden Doc A and two-time Grade 3 winner Rated Fiesty are among the 11 fillies and mares entered in Saturday's $75,000 Weekend Delight Stakes at Turfway Park, a six-furlong dash over Polytrack. And they are far from the only quality fillies in a race that includes synthetic stakes winners Pola's Place, Valentine Fever, and Victorianna.

Despite coming off a couple lackluster performances, Golden Doc A rates top billing, largely on what she accomplished this spring. After winning the Grade 1 Las Virgenes, she placed in the Santa Anita Oaks and Beaumont Stakes before finishing fourth behind Proud Spell in the Kentucky Oaks.

Since the Oaks, however, she has struggled. She was essentially eased in finishing last of four in the Acorn Stakes and then she flattened out in finishing fourth in the Torrey Pines Stakes at Del Mar when returning from a layoff on Aug. 31.

Barry Abrams, who trains her for Ron McCauley of Lexington, said she never had a chance in the Torrey Pines when falling 10 lengths off the early lead, but he expects her to rebound.

The Weekend Delight should show him "if she is still competitive or not as competitive as early in the year," he said, and what direction to take her in the coming weeks. If she performs well, the Weekend Delight could serve as a prep toward the Grade 2, $400,000 Indiana Oaks at Hoosier Park on Oct. 3 or the Grade 2, $300,000 Raven Run Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 18.

Working in her favor Saturday is that she is racing over Polytrack. She is a synthetic specialist, having recorded all three of her wins over such tracks. Bill Troilo rides.

Rated Fiesty also is proven over synthetic tracks, having won her only start over the Polytrack when debuting at Keeneland in April 2007. Unbeaten in three starts last year as a 2-year-old, she crossed the wire first in her lone start this year in the Jan. 26 Dixie Belle Stakes at Oaklawn Park, but was disqualified and placed third for interference in the stretch.

She has not raced since but has been training steadily at Churchill Downs for trainer Steve Asmussen, who has named his go-to jockey, Shaun Bridgmohan, to ride.

* Saturday's card at Turfway will be melded with seven races from Kentucky Downs, capped by a $29,000 allowance that goes as the 15th of 17 races between the two tracks.

Kentucky Downs plays host to a handicapping contest Saturday, with $10,000 in prizes up for grabs. Three players will earn automatic berths into the Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship on Jan. 23-24 in Las Vegas. The entry fee is $150, and the contest is limited to 200 participants.