06/21/2007 11:00PM

Humorous Gal makes comeback start


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Ian Wilkes was in south Florida for the winter, looking forward to a productive year with Humorous Gal, when one of those unfortunate things that frequently occur in racing popped up.

"She had to have ankle surgery," Wilkes said.

That setback pretty much took care of the first half of the year, although Wilkes is happy to report that Humorous Gal, a three-time winner last year, is ready to go again. Having had what the trainer described as a "tiny flake" removed endoscopically from an ankle, Humorous Gal has been working regularly toward her return to action, which will come Sunday at Churchill Downs in a $61,000 allowance that serves as the featured 10th of 11 races.

Among her final six races last year at 3, Humorous Gal won a maiden race at Keeneland, a first-level allowance at Churchill, and a second-level allowance at Keeneland. In her final start of the year, the Distorted Humor filly finished seventh in the Grade 2 Chilukki Stakes during Breeders' Cup week at Churchill, but it wasn't until she was shipped several weeks later to Palm Meadows in Florida that her injury came to light, Wilkes said.

"I'm pleased with the way she's come back," he said. "Obviously she hasn't run for a while, so we're looking to get a good race in her Sunday."

Humorous Gal, with Calvin Borel to ride, will start from post 2 in a field of nine fillies and mares entered in the six-furlong race with a third-level allowance condition (a $100,000 claiming option was not exercised by any of the nine starters). The probable favorites in the race are Vote Early, a sharp winner of a June 2 allowance for trainer Steve Margolis and jockey Shaun Bridgmohan, and Morethanaprincess, who forced the pace to midstretch before settling for third in the Mayo28 Winning Colors Stakes.

The highest earners in the race are Morner, with a bankroll of $243,047, and High Heritage ($234,669). However, Morner has been off form since returning in late March from a layoff of nearly five months, and High Heritage, although speedy and occasionally explosive, has tended to struggle when circumstances don't suit her just right.

The rest of the field is Touch Me Once, Sacred Feather, Golden Voice, and Ocean Current. There is speed aplenty in the lineup, which could benefit a closer such as Humorous Gal or Vote Early.

First post is 1:15 p.m. Eastern.