Updated on 09/18/2011 1:31AM

If Mocha Queen's going out, this is fitting spot

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Reed Palmer
Mocha Queen, winning the Zenobia Empress in July, may be competing in her final race Thursday.

"She absolutely loves it," said Mike Lauer, the trainer who co-bred and co-owns Mocha Queen.

When the $58,500 feature race is run Thursday over the Churchill turf, Mocha Queen, 5, will be racing for what might well be the final time. Although she owns just six wins, she has proven herself a true battler, earning checks in a variety of turf sprint stakes while taking on all the top turf sprinters.

Lauer, whose horse-transit company long has been a profitable side business to a public stable that has compiled 519 wins since 1976, said he is unsure whether he and his partners will retire Mocha Queen after Thursday.

"We had her in the sale last week at Fasig-Tipton, but she failed to bring her reserve," said Lauer. "We knew this race Thursday was the only turf sprint left for her here, so we'll see how she does. We could run her a couple times more in New Orleans, but the one sure thing is she'll be bred in the spring."

Mocha Queen, with Brice Blanc to ride, will try to improve her 16-3-7-2 record at Churchill. She goes as part of a full field in the ninth of 10 races Thursday, and, as she has done periodically during her career, she will face males.

"She's run against the boys quite a bit," said Lauer.

There is plenty of opposing speed in the five-furlong race to help Mocha Queen's late kick, namely, Mighty Beau, Rapid Raj, and, if he draws in off the also-eligibles list, Rungius.

Besides Mocha Queen, other possibilities to get top prize by rallying include Sgt. Bert, winner of the Woodford Stakes at Keeneland three starts back for trainer Gary Montgomery, and Smoke Smoke Smoke, a winner of a 2005 overnight stakes over the Churchill course.

One other allowance (race 7), a one-mile turf race for 2-year-olds, also is part of the Thursday card. Corrupt, a Team Block shipper from Chicago, looks like the one to beat in a field of nine.

First post is 12:40 p.m. Eastern.