Updated on 09/15/2011 1:26PM

Long layoff horses can't be ignored


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Two horses entered off significant layoffs face one who recently posted a 102 Beyer Speed Figure amid a full field of second-level allowance sprinters in the richest race of the Wednesday card at Churchill Downs.

Blazing Count and Clutch Player are the returnees, while Lucky Baldwin is the horse who blazed through his first allowance condition on Oct. 30. They appear to form the core of a $45,500 allowance that goes as the eighth of nine races Wednesday.

Blazing Count, a 4-year-old colt trained by Randy Morse, showed flashes of brilliance here last year, earning a 100 Beyer when winning an entry-level allowance on closing day of the 2000 spring meet. Blazing Count has not raced since finishing third in his lone subsequent start, a Saratoga allowance race on Aug. 6, 2000, but the colt shows a series of sharp recent breezes for Morse.

Clutch Player, an A.P. Indy colt owned by Tom Vanderhyde, was considered a Kentucky Derby possibility early this year by trainer Dallas Stewart. But then a sixth-place finish in the March 11 Louisiana Derby was followed by a dismal performance in the Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park 13 days later, eliminating the colt from consideration. After one failed turf experiment in April, Clutch Player was given time off, and he, too, has worked smartly toward his return to action.

Lucky Baldwin, owned by the Amerman Racing Stable, has recency on his side. A 3-year-old Crafty Prospector gelding, he took command immediately in his Churchill Downs debut before speeding away to easily earn a lifetime-best 102 Beyer. Lucky Baldwin is scheduled to race as part of an entry with his Paul McGee-trained stablemate, Kiss Me Goodbye.

In all, 14 were entered in the feature, although with two stable couplings and two also-eligibles, the race may be limited to just 10 betting interests.

One other allowance (race 3) is scheduled for Wednesday. Dixie Witch, sharp in her last start at Keeneland, figures as a solid contender in a field of seven 2-year-old fillies, some of whom will be trying two turns for the first time. The 1 1/16-mile race carries a $44,200 purse.

* The lone stakes here this weekend is the $150,000 Mrs. Revere Stakes on Saturday. A sizable field of 3-year-old fillies is likely for the Grade 2, 1 1/16-mile turf race.

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