10/21/2004 11:00PM

Humaita likes to go long


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Being a cut below the best of her class - albeit just a small cut - Humaita was kept out of the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf to run instead Sunday in the Rood & Riddle Dowager Stakes at Keeneland.

Humaita was beaten just two lengths when finishing seventh in her last start, the Grade 1 Flower Bowl on Oct. 2 at Belmont Park. The Flower Bowl habitually produces starters for the Breeders' Cup, but Graham Motion, trainer of Humaita, used a reality check and set his sights on the Dowager.

"I'd like to think she fits pretty good in there," said Motion. "Even though she was stuck down on the rail in the Flower Bowl, she only got beat two lengths, and now she gets more ground, which I think will help. The farther she goes, the better."

As a three-turn race at 1 1/2 miles, the $150,000 Dowager is a quarter-mile longer than the Flower Bowl. Humaita, a 4-year-old German-bred, will be ridden by Robby Albarado and will break from post 2 in a field of eight fillies and mares. In seven starts since coming to the United States, Humaita has won three races, most notably the Grade 3 Glens Falls Handicap on closing weekend of the Saratoga meet.

Besides Humaita, the other major contenders in the Dowager are Tikkanita and Aud.

Tikkanita is perfect in two U.S. starts since being imported from France by the Augustin Stable. In her stateside debut, Tikkanita was sharp in blowing away entry-level allowance fillies at Pimlico last month. She then followed up with a win here Oct. 8.

Aud, trained by Tony Reinstedler, owns a dangerous turn of foot, having run her best races from well off the pace. With five wins from 18 starts, Aud has earned nearly $350,000, and her latest outing was a win by disqualification in the Yellow Rose BC at Lone Star Park.

The rest of the Dowager field is Jacira, Mexican Moonlight, Tanwi Spring, and Delicatessa.

Tikkanita and Tanwi Spring are both trained by Jonathan Sheppard, but will not be coupled for wagering purposes.

The Dowager is part of a pick four wager that once again will sport a guaranteed pool of $300,000. This is the third and last time at the fall meet that Keeneland, in conjunction with Television Games Network, is offering a guaranteed pool. The pick four covers races 6 through 9.