03/27/2008 12:00AM

Holy Thursday has fitness edge over main foe


Twelve weeks after Royally Robbed edged Holy Thursday to win an allowance at Hawthorne Jan. 5, it is time for a rematch. The two Illinois-bred geldings - who were separated by three-quarters of a length Jan. 5 - head a field of seven in Saturday's featured fifth race at Hawthorne, a third-level allowance at six furlongs with a $40,000 claiming option.

Although Royally Robbed beat Holy Thursday the last time they met, Holy Thursday, having made a recent start, could be positioned to turn the tables on Saturday. A 5-year-old son of Holy Bull, he last raced at Hawthorne March 9, closing from 11 lengths back to win a second-level allowance for Illinois-breds by four lengths. He ran quickly, covering six furlongs in 1:09.07.

Chris Block trains Holy Thursday for owner Summer Camp Stable. Tanner Riggs rides.

Royally Robbed is fast in his own right, as he proved in defeating Holy Thursday that day in January. Racing 6 1/2 furlongs, he led at every call, racing the distance over a good track in 1:15.64. That performance earned him a 93 Beyer Speed Figure, the best in Saturday's field.

Royally Robbed also has a fin e record. First or second in 5 of 7 starts, he is 3 for 5 racing over dirt tracks.

Timothy Thornton rides Royally Robbed, who races for owner William Stiritz and trainer Terry Gestes.

The fifth race also includes several shippers.

Tomcat Row, a stakes-placed Iowa-bred, has been training well at the Thoroughbred Center in Lexington, Ky., for his first race since winning an allowance at Prairie Meadows Sept. 15. Lissa's Star and Hangman, invade from Fair Grounds and Oaklawn Park, respectively.

Hangman breezed a half-mile in 49.80 seconds at Hawthorne March 24, and won over the Hawthorne strip when he last raced in Chicago on Dec. 14.

Saturday's nine-race card also includes two first-level allowances, one for Illinois-bred 3-year-olds, and another that is an open allowance for 3-year-olds and up. Both races are deeper and more contentious than the fifth.

The Illinois-bred allowance, which goes as race 7, offers a number of sharp 3-year-olds, led by Rusty Bucket, a winner of 1 of 2 starts, and Fair Grounds shipper Classic R. J., who won a $25,000 nonwinners-of-two claiming race in quick time March 9.

The other allowance, the eighth, appears a scramble, with Royalnregal Dreams expected to start as a tepid favorite following a runner-up finish at Hawthorne March 10.