10/19/2006 11:00PM

Louve Royale back for more


LEXINGTON, Ky. - When opportunity knocks, Patrick Biancone answers. Turf marathons with $150,000 purses just don't come around that often, so when Biancone realized he could run Louve Royale in two of them at the Keeneland fall meet, he was only too happy to comply.

Louve Royale, who a little more than two weeks ago finished sixth against males in the Sycamore Breeders' Cup Stakes on opening day, is wheeling back 16 days later in the Dowager Stakes, a 1 1/2-mile turf race for fillies and mares Sunday.

"She tried the boys, and now she tries the girls," said Biancone, adding he mapped out the two-race strategy for Louve Royale at this meet because "there are not too many other races like this in the country."

Despite still being eligible for third-level allowance conditions, Louve Royale figures as a solid favorite in a full field entered in the Dowager, which is carded as the eighth of nine Sunday races. A 5-year-old Irish-bred owned by Joseph Allen, Louve Royale has been remarkably consistent throughout her career, finishing in the money in 13 of 19 starts, and she was only 5-1 when she was sixth behind Revved Up in the Oct. 6 Sycamore.

Julien Leparoux, who with a four-win Thursday has engaged Rafael Bejarano in another head-to-head battle for the Keeneland jockey title, has the call on Louve Royale. They will break from the inside post in the Dowager, which is run around three turns, with the starting gate positioned near the entrance to the far turn on the turf-course backstretch.

Leparoux and Bejarano tied for the Keeneland spring-meet honors with 17 wins each, and they have been taking turns atop the leader board as this meet has unfolded. Bejarano appears to have a live challenger to Louve Royale in another Irish-bred, Bond Deal, who could be the second choice among the turf-course maximum of 12 starters.

Bond Deal, trained by Ben Cecil, ships in from Southern California in good form, having backed up a victory in a small Santa Rosa stakes in late July with respectable efforts in back-to-back graded races on her home circuit. The 5-year-old mare finished fifth in both the Grade 2 Palomar and the Grade 1 Yellow Ribbon at Santa Anita.

Three allowances (races 3, 6, 7) also are carded for Sunday, when first post is 1:15 p.m. Eastern. After Sunday, Keeneland goes dark for two days until the final four-day stretch of the 17-day meet resumes Wednesday.