11/22/2002 12:00AM

Meeting ending with a blowout of stakes


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - At Churchill Downs, the last week is to the fall what the first week is to the spring.

That is, whereas every spring meet hits its peak early with the Kentucky Derby, the most prestigious races of the fall meet are saved for the last few days. That pattern will hold true again next week when four Grade 2 races are run during the final three programs of the 30-day fall meet.

$250,000 Falls City Handicap (Thursday): Take Charge Lady, with Edgar Prado to ride, will be a solid favorite in her first start since finishing sixth in the Breeders' Cup Distaff.

Other probables for the 1 1/8-mile Falls City include Allamerican Bertie, Pat Day to ride; Printemps, Robby Albarado; and Softly, Jon Court. Only two or three more fillies and mares appear likely to start.

$400,000 Clark Handicap (Friday): The richest race of the meet might again be the best. Lido Palace, with Jorge Chavez to ride for trainer Bobby Frankel, could be a slight choice in a sizable field.

Other probables for the 1 1/8-mile Clark are American Style, Shane Sellers; Crafty Shaw, James Lopez; Dollar Bill, Mark Guidry; Gander, Richard Migliore; Generous Rosi, Larry Melancon; Hero's Tribute, Prado; Najran, Day; Neon Shadow, Lonnie Meche; Perfect Drift, Jon Court; and Tenpins, Albarado. Evening Attire, who was entered as a main track only for the Red Smith Saturday at Aqueduct, is a possibility for the Clark should he not run in the Smith.

Weight assignments for the Falls City and Clark were to be released this weekend.

$200,000 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (Saturday): Toccet, winner of the Champagne Stakes, is a possible starter in a 1 1/16-mile race that also is shaping up with a large field.

Other 2-year-olds under consideration are Alke, Cat Genius, Champali, Collateral Damage, Desert Warrior, Midway Road, Powerful Touch, Ten Cents a Shine, What a Bad Day, and White Cat.

$200,000 Golden Rod Stakes (Saturday): This 1 1/16-mile race will feature My Boston Gal, the 2-year-old filly who was a sensational winner of both starts, and one of the most exciting horses to run this fall in Kentucky. She is trained by Carl Nafzger and was ridden in both races by Calvin Borel.

Others likely to run are Belle of Perintown, Holiday Lady, Jodys Deelite, Moonlight Sonata, My Trusty Cat, Red Cell, and Star of Atticus.

Day heading west before holiday

Pat Day will miss closing day to ride Good Journey in the $500,000 Citation Handicap at Hollywood Park. Good Journey, trained by Wally Dollase, finished third under Day in the Breeders' Cup Mile last month.

After the meet ends, Day, as is customary, will take most of December off, although he may ride the occasional stakes race before Gulfstream Park starts Jan. 3, said his agent, Doc Danner. Day has the opportunity to ride in the Great State Challenge at Sam Houston Dec. 7, but "he's supposed to leave for a vacation the next day, so I doubt if we're going to go," said Danner.

Day is well on his way to a record 33rd riding title at Churchill.

Sellers quick on the move

Shane Sellers, whose comeback from a serious knee injury has resulted in a productive meet, won't waste any time getting to the next town. Sellers will begin riding next Sunday at the Fair Grounds. "We'll miss the first three days in New Orleans, and that's it," said agent Fred Aime.

Also, Calvin Borel, who through Thursday was second only to Day in the Churchill jockey standings, will ride at Fair Grounds beginning Dec. 5. Borel, who for some 15 years has been a regular at Oaklawn Park, will ride regularly at Fair Grounds throughout the winter.

A tale of two Waldrops

Alex Waldrop, meet Alex Waldrop.

That is what happened at a Wednesday lunch meeting between two men who have gained measures of considerable fame within their respective professions.

Alex Waldrop, Churchill's president and senior vice president of public affairs, met with Alex Waldrop, a bioanalytic chemist who in the early 1970's developed a sophisticated test for DNA that now is in widespread use by medical and forensic specialists throughout the world.

"His cousin lives in Lexington and had read some articles about me," said Waldrop of Churchill. "Last week, she called and said she and her cousin, Alex Waldrop, were coming to Louisville, so we got together for a couple of hours in the Turf Club. It was a very interesting day."

Alex Waldrop the scientist lives in Maine. After lengthy discussion, he could not determine whether he and his namesake are distantly related, but he said he knew how to find out.

"He has a DNA test kit that he's going to send me," said Churchill's Waldrop.

- Elite Mercedes, briefly considered a Kentucky Derby prospect at 3, makes his return from a layoff Sunday in a field of 10, including a Bernie Flint entry, in the $47,100 feature. Elite Mercedes, trained by Elliott Walden, figures to relish the 6 1/2-furlong distance of the Sunday feature, which is carded as the ninth of 10 races.

- The newest kid on the block at Churchill is apprentice Eddie Zambrana, a 23-year-old native of Puerto Rico. Zambrana, riding with a 10-pound allowance, has won two races, with a 23-1 and a 22-1 shot. His agent is former trainer Brian White.