03/30/2006 1:00AM

Lillians Choice ends long vacation


A solid field of 13 Ohio-bred fillies will contest the first stakes race of the year in Ohio in Saturday's $50,000 Royal North Stakes at Beulah Park.

Multiple stakes winner Lillians Choice returns from a six-month layoff for trainer Bret Calhoun in the six-furlong Royal North.

Lillians Choice captured both the Tah Dah at River Downs and the Miss Ohio at Thistledown last summer, and is just a neck short of being undefeated in her four-race career.

Lillians Choice ended her 2-year-old campaign on Oct. 1 in the $60,000 John Galbreath at 1 1/16 miles. She was 1 1/2 lengths clear in midstretch in that event but was caught at the wire and finished second at odds of 1-2. For the year, Lillians Choice had $74,700 in earnings.

With six workouts in the past two months for Calhoun, who strikes at a 24 percent clip with runners returning from layoffs of greater than 180 days, Lillians Choice looks fit enough for her 3-year-old debut and figures to be close to the pace.

The undefeated Casey's Jet, 3 for 3 since beginning her career earlier this year, looms the main danger. Casey's Jet has defeated older allowance rivals in each of her last two starts, both by open lengths going six furlongs. Rodney Prescott will be in from Kentucky to ride Casey's Jet.

Fight Girl, who finished second behind Lillians Choice twice in stakes last year, adds depth to the field, as do Tommeyesgold and Double Diva, who each won a stakes last year.