05/28/2005 12:00AM

Indiana: Free Bonus stands out


Multiple stakes winner Free Bonus looms a short-priced favorite, when she squares off against six other Indiana-bred 3-year-old fillies in the $40,000 First Lady Stakes on the turf at Indiana Downs.

Free Bonus has won 6 of her 9 career starts and is undefeated in five tries against Indiana-breds, including four stakes scores.

In her most recent start, Free Bonus stalked the pace to the stretch before rallying to score a 2 1/4-length victory here in the Shelby County at six furlongs on May 6.

Free Bonus was 3-1 in the Shelby County, but her price figures to be much shorter in the 7 1/2-furlong First Lady. The question remains whether she can handle the turf, a surface over which she has never raced. Fortunately for Free Bonus, none of the fillies in the First Lady has ever raced on turf.

Terry Houghton has a return call aboard Free Bonus who carries co-highweight of 118 pounds under the allowance conditions of the First Lady. She is trained by David Norris.

A pair of undefeated fillies figure to give Free Bonus a run for her money Monday. Congratulating has scored twice here at the meeting, winning her maiden in her debut April 26 by 3 1/2 lengths and returning to defeat entry-level statebred allowance company here last week by a widening 7 1/2 lengths. Lester Knight will once again ride Congratulating.

Lil E Rose scored a half-length victory in her only career start, which came here April 20 at 5 1/2 furlongs. Trained by Charles Walcott, Lil E Rose gives up valuable experience to the rest of the field, but may have the best pedigree to handle the added distance and the turf. Sidney Lejeune Jr. picks up the mount aboard Lil E Rose in the First Lady