04/11/2007 11:00PM

Last points out Academic Queen


OLDSMAR, Fla. - Academic Queen, who was defeated by less than a length at Gulfstream Park last time out, appears well placed to win her first race since May 2005 in Saturday's optional claiming feature at Tampa Bay Downs. The 1o1/16-mile turf race, a third-level allowance with a claiming option of $40,000, has a field of seven fillies and mares.

Academic Queen was sent off at 5-1 last time out in a $35,000 claiming race at Gulfstream. She came from well back in the field of 12 but had traffic problems entering the second turn. She rallied after she finally extricated herself but her late charge fell short by a half-length.

Prior to that race, she rallied from off the pace in a race similar to Saturday's. She was in the battle a furlong out before finishing second behind Marieval, a horse that came back later to race against allowance foes.

Academic Queen is trained by Larry Bates, and will race for the $40,000 claiming price on Saturday. Her last win came 13 starts ago in a third-level optional claimer at Pimlico. Tom Foley will ride Academic Queen, a 6-year-old daughter of Royal Academy, at 118 pounds.

Marge S came down from Turfway and scored an upset at 32-1 against optional claiming foes in her first start at Tampa Bay Downs, then trailed last time out in the Grade 3 Hillsborough Stakes. She is spotted more realistically on Saturday. Martin Escobar has the mount for trainer Derek Ryan at 120 pounds.

Travois, from the powerhouse stable of Tom Proctor - which is winning at close to a 40 percent clip this meet - looked sharp when leading throughout in her local debut two races back, but didn't make the lead last time out and finished third. She might be the one to catch here under Luis Gonzalez at 120 pounds.

Trainer Dale Bennett sends out a pair in Omi Princess and Kat Princess. Omi Princess ran second last time behind A Different Tune, who was third in the L and D Farm Turf Classic here last Saturday. Kat Princess makes only her second start since December and should be more fit for this race.