05/18/2007 12:00AM

'Kin' likely to move forward


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Kin to the Wind was scratched from an allowance race at Churchill Downs during Derby Week after persistent rain forced management to move the scheduled turf race to a sloppy main track.

Sunday, the outlook for her looks much brighter - both in terms of the weather and the competition she faces in the featured ninth race at Churchill Downs, a $50,000 first-level allowance at 1 1/16 miles on grass.

With sunny weather expected through the weekend in the Louisville area, Kin to the Wind seems likely to catch the firm turf course she favors.

Racing over a firm turf course on April 7 at Keeneland, she performed well to finish third in her first start of the year. Off a step slowly, she tugged jockey Rafael Bejarano into contention and raced evenly to lose by three lengths to St. Hildegard.

Flattering her effort was the subsequent race of the runner-up, May Night, who returned to defeat second-level allowance runners at Churchill on May 11.

To Kin to the Wind's credit, she raced competitively with St. Hildegard and May Night despite a wide trip. According to Trakus, the radio-frequency system Keeneland uses to track positioning and other racing data, Kin to the Wind had the third-widest trip of the 12 starters in that April 7 race, covering 38 more feet than the winner.

For a horse returning following a layoff of nearly nine months, it was a strong performance.

"We've always had high hopes for her, but last year she had a few little problems," trainer Rusty Arnold said. "So we had to give her some time."

Now that she is doing well, Arnold is expecting another strong effort from the 4-year-old Kin to the Wind.

She appears likely to transfer her fine form to the Churchill Downs turf course. She ran one of the best races of her career here last May, winning a maiden race over eventual graded stakes winner Precious Kitten.

Arosa, a 4-year-old trained by Patrick Biancone, appears the main challenger for Kin to the Wind. Making her first start in America on April 26 at Keeneland after beginning her career in Ireland, she finished second in a race that was transferred from turf to Polytrack.