09/08/2004 11:00PM

Hot pace can aid two fillies

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They live right next door to each other on the Churchill Downs backstretch, but after being sent on a road trip of nearly 100 miles, will get even closer Saturday at Turfway Park.

Both 4-year-old fillies are entered in the $75,000 Weekend Delight Stakes at Turfway, the Florence, Ky., track that began its 22-day fall meet this week. Golden Marlin and Put Me In are the likely favorites among an eight-horse field entered in the Weekend Delight, a six-furlong race that highlights a 10-race card.

Golden Marlin, owned by Doug Glass and the estate of his late brother-in-law, Joe Famularo, has a late-running style that might be assisted by the race shape. Several of her opponents have the kind of early speed that might be conducive to hot fractions, and with Rafael Bejarano aboard, Golden Marlin could be moving fastest of all in the final furlong.

So, too, might Put Me In be helped by all the pace in the race. A remarkably consistent filly who has won half of her 18 career starts, Put Me In has a stalking style that should have her in prime position when the real running begins. Mark Guidry has the mount.

Golden Marlin and Put Me In are stabled mere yards apart at Churchill, where their respective trainers, Greg Foley and Merrill Scherer, see each other virtually every morning. "Tell Greg we're going to beat him," Scherer said Thursday with typical mischief. "That'll get him going."

Foley declined to play along, saying with a smile that Put Me In "is a tough filly. We'll have to run big to beat her."

Several of the other fillies and mares will try to outfoot the Churchill fillies through the early going, including Moonlit Romance and That's Our Tricky. Others who have shown the occasional burst of speed are Literary Light and Feather Maraine. Rounding out the cast are two Churchill-based horses, There Runs Hattie and Star of Atticus.

A $26,800 allowance route directly precedes the Weekend Delight, which occupies the usual race-nine feature slot. First post is 1:10 p.m. Eastern.

The Weekend Delight is the lone stakes at Turfway before the Kentucky Cup, the focal point of the fall meet. The 11th Kentucky Cup, to be run next Saturday, consists of five races, led by the $350,000 Classic.

Admission is free for Kentucky Cup, as it is any other day at Turfway. There is a charge for reserved seats.