05/24/2005 12:00AM

May Gator can end drought

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - May Gator last won on Labor Day weekend, and now, here it is, nearly Memorial Day weekend. Trainer Steve Flint thought he had picked a winning spot for his standout turf mare during Kentucky Derby week, "but it was one of those typical Derby week allowances," he said, and despite running hard, May Gator lost for the seventh straight time, finishing third.

"She had been banging heads with all those stakes fillies for a while," said Flint. "I wanted to get her a little easier spot, a little confidence-builder. Then [Steve] Asmussen showed up with Sister Swank, and that made it like a stakes race. Hopefully, Thursday will be easier."

Indeed, when faces six other fillies and mares in the Thursday feature at Churchill Downs, she might finally be able to end a victory drought that dates to the Sept. 4 Dade Turf Classic at Ellis Park. With Gary Stevens to ride, May Gator will be looking to surpass the half-million-dollar milestone when she breaks from the inside post in the eighth of 10 races, a $60,800 allowance at a mile on the grass.

May Gator, a 6-year-old mare, is owned by Flint's main clients, the Klein family of Louisville. From 45 starts, May Gator has 9 wins, 14 seconds, and 7 thirds, a record of consistency that has allowed her to amass a bankroll of slightly more than $480,000. Flint, however, has been somewhat frustrated by the way May Gator keeps meeting up with graded-caliber opponents, and is hoping relief is forthcoming Thursday.

"The races she's been running in are very tough," said Flint. "I thought she ran a winning race last out, but she came up just a little short. Hopefully, this will be a little easier. It looks like a logical spot, anyway."

Among the more capable challengers trying to deny May Gator again are (post 7), who will stretch out around two turns after a number of solid efforts in turf sprints.

Rounding out the cast are Rich Find, Gamble to Victory, and Beret.

The Thursday feature will be directly followed by a $53,300 second-level allowance with seven fillies and mares. Like May Gator, Kota could be favored to notch her first victory since last summer at Ellis Park.