05/13/2010 11:00PM

More Than Willing key to classy finale


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Churchill Downs often reserves its last race - its super high five race, in which bettors try to select the top five finishers in order - for a large field of low-end claimers or maidens, the kind of the race in which contention runs deep and there is a strong chance of a blow-up payoff.

By necessity there is a change to that placement on Sunday. A $50,000 first-level allowance at 1 1/8 miles on turf goes as the last, because it's the only race on the 10-race card that drew more than eight betting interests.

The last race drew 12 horses in the body of the field, plus two also-eligibles including Forest Warfare, who is entered for the main track only.

Unlike a typical claiming race or maiden claiming race, in which a key horse can sometimes be difficult to find, the last race Sunday seems to have a clear key horse in More Than Willing, who appears to stand out in a field that also includes by Cosmic King and Formaggio.

More Than Willing's first start on turf April 23 was highly encouraging. Racing in a 1 3/16-mile grass race at Keeneland, he drew post 11, and raced five wide virtually from start to finish.

Despite the ground loss, More Than Willing surged from eighth to take the lead at the eighth pole, only to be run down in the closing yards by favored Armstrong Mill. More Than Willing finished second, beaten a neck.

Drawn better in post 5 in Sunday's nightcap, More Than Willing and jockey Robby Albarado should get a better trip.

Kenny McPeek trains More Than Willing.

* The day's richest race, a $58,800 money allowance at a mile on dirt, goes as the third race with a field of six.

Seeking to repeat an angle that worked successfully for Demarcation last fall, trainer Paul McGee switches the horse from turf to the Churchill dirt main track. That move produced a victory by Demarcation in the Grade 3 Ack Ack going a one-turn mile at Churchill on Nov. 6. Calvin Borel rides.

Graded-stakes dropper Prom Shoes is Demarcation's primary foe.

* Churchill's Who's the Champ? handicapping contest resumes Sunday, one of five such contests at the meet. First prize each week is $1,500, plus a five-day, four-night trip to Las Vegas to compete in the Horseplayer World Series on Feb. 16-19 at Orleans Casino. Entry fee is $30, $25 for Twin Spires Club members.