02/02/2005 1:00AM

High hopes for Runway Model

Four-Footed Fotos
Runway Model has the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks as her main spring goal.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - There are a lot of good 3-year-olds based at Oaklawn Park this meet, but not all of them are colts. Runway Model, runner-up for 2-year-old champion filly of 2004, is calling Hot Springs home this winter as she prepares for her major spring goal, the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks.

Runway Model arrived at Oaklawn from Kentucky on Jan. 17 and soon resumed training following a five-week vacation. Trainer Bernie Flint said she could make her first start of the year in the Grade 2, $300,000 Fair Grounds Oaks on March 12 or the Grade 2, $250,000 Fantasy at Oaklawn on April 15.

It is also possible she could make both races, depending on how her training progresses, said Flint.

"I think she's going to go on and do well this year," said Flint, who trains Runway Model for Naveed Chowhan. "She's certainly had a good career up to now, and I look for her to continue on."

Runway Model has won 4 of 10 starts and $530,598. Her richest win came in October in the Grade 2, $400,000 Darley Alcibiades at Keeneland. From there she went on to finish a troubled third in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies.

"She got stopped three times in the Breeders' Cup," said Flint.

Runway Model made one more start after the Juvenile Fillies, winning the Grade 2 Golden Rod at Churchill Downs.

"She wouldn't let me stop on her following the Breeders' Cup," said Flint. "She's a throwback to the old days, when you run them and they look for [more]. Against her will, we gave her a vacation. She's a filly with the right attitude. She just loves [racing]."

Runway Model has settled in well at Oaklawn. Flint recommended her purchase at the Ocala Breeders Sales Co.'s select 2-year-old sale at Calder last February. She is a daughter of Petionville, and her dam, Ticket to Houston, is a two-time stakes winner who produced Turf Paradise Derby winner Mambo Train. Runway Model was purchased for $260,000.

Flint said he has not yet decided on a rider for Runway Model, whose pilots last year included Robby Albarado and Rafael Bejarano.

Kickboard back to mile on Friday

Kickboard should benefit from the cutback back to a mile in Friday's featured ninth race at Oaklawn. The two-other-than allowance drew a competitive field of nine. The purse is $33,500.

Kickboard last raced on Oct. 27 and finished fifth in a two-other-than allowance going 1 1/8 miles at Churchill Downs. Before that race, he won a one-mile entry-level allowance at Ellis Park in July. A son of Kingmambo, Kickboard shows some nice works for his comeback. He is trained by Bob Holthus, who wins at an above-average rate with horses returning from layoffs, and will be ridden by defending riding champ John McKee.

Others in the race include Roarofvictory, winner of the Iowa Breeders' Derby for trainer Jim McCoy, and Glittergem, who stretches out around two turns on the heels of an entry-level allowance win at Fair Grounds for trainer Hal Wiggins.

'Smarty' the carousel horse

Roy and Patricia Chapman have donated $10,000 to help restore an antique carousel that will be placed in the Little Rock, Ark., zoo. In honor of their contribution, one of the restored horses will be named Smarty Jones.

The Chapmans raced Smarty Jones, who won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness and earned a $5 million bonus from Oaklawn for capturing the Rebel, Arkansas Derby, and Kentucky Derby.

The donation from the Chapmans was announced at a news conference at the zoo Tuesday.