06/29/2005 11:00PM

Katdogawn, Delta Princess look best


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The filly and mare turf division isn't the most glamorous or exciting in North American racing. But it often provides well-matched fields and an attractive brand of racing, and that should prove the case once again Saturday at Churchill Downs.

The field for the $150,000 Locust Grove Handicap is led by Katdogawn and Delta Princess, a pair of honest mares whose best efforts normally teeter on the cusp of triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures. Throw in the likes of Shaconage, Cape Town Lass, and Baxter Hall, and the Locust Grove clearly justifies its Grade 3 ranking and its featured slot on a 10-race Saturday card.

In all, a field of seven passed the entry box for the 24th Locust Grove, a 1 1/8-mile race that follows the Distaff Turf Mile and Mint Julep Handicap as the finale in Churchill's spring series in the division.

Off their last starts, Katdogawn and Delta Princess both should prove especially tough Saturday.

, trained by Wally Dollase, drew clear to capture the May 30 WinStar Distaff at Lone Star Park. The victory was something of a breakthrough for the 5-year-old British-bred mare, considering it was her first since last spring and redeemed a subpar effort in her prior start, the Jenny Wiley at Keeneland.

was sensational in winning the June 4 Mint Julep, as she went last to first despite lagging behind a relatively slow pace. Kenny McCarthy, local assistant to trainer Bill Mott, said Delta Princess has flourished since that last race and is primed for another top effort.

"She seems like she came out of that race terrific," said McCarthy. "She's the type of filly that we feel like we don't have to train her that much between races. Hopefully she'll show up again."

Of the others, is a two-time stakes winner over the Churchill turf course and was a sharp second behind Delta Princess in the Mint Julep; Cape Town Lass is a consistent 4-year-old with an effective late kick; and Baxter Hall dead-heated for win in a prep here 24 days ago.

Pad the Wallet and Marwood round out the Locust Grove cast.

The Locust Grove is the ninth of 10 races on a card that also includes the $72,000 Lazer Show (race 8). First post is 1:15 p.m. Eastern.

* Eleven races, one more than usual, will be run here Monday, normally a dark day. There will be no racing here Wednesday.