09/19/2008 11:00PM

My Baby Baby may outrun her odds


My Baby Baby looked like a rising star in the 3-year-old filly turf division at Churchill Downs this spring, finishing second in the Edgewood Stakes and following that with a 5 3/4-length allowance victory June 4, a race that earned her a 101 Beyer Speed Figure.

But a month later, her stock took a Lehman Brothers-like drop, following a last-place finish in the Grade 1 American Oaks at Hollywood Park, a race in which she finished 31 lengths behind the winner, Pure Clan.

So when she returns Monday in the $50,000 Pleasant Temper Stakes at Kentucky Downs in Franklin, Ky., My Baby Baby is 15-1 on the morning line, an outsider against 11 opponents led by a trio of older fillies and mares - Ballado's Thunder, Aspiring, and Tremendous One.

Trainer Ken McPeek has lost none of the confidence he showed in My Baby Baby in the spring. She has trained well at his Magdalena Farm in Lexington since the American Oaks, he said, adding he believes she had a valid excuse for performing so poorly in that race.

"She had a rash that we were watching going in," he said. "And it broke out into a bacterial infection from head to toe after the race."

With that cleared up, he expects her to return to form in the one-mile Pleasant Temper. Although she shows just one published work heading into the race, a half-mile breeze in 49.20 seconds over Keeneland's Polytrack on Aug. 23, McPeek said she has been kept fit by training over his hilly grass course at Magdalena Farm.

He hopes this training experience works to her advantage over the undulating turf course at Kentucky Downs.

Miguel Mena rides My Baby Baby.

Besides Ballado's Thunder, Aspiring and Tremendous One - who posted Beyers in the low to mid 80s in some of their better races this year - Put Away the Halo will also attract support, having won the 2007 Pleasant Temper in her lone Kentucky Downs start.

Although winless in three starts for owner-trainer Joan Scott since being claimed for $80,000 at Churchill Downs in May, she comes off a pair of respectable fourth-place finishers over the synthetic surface at Presque Isle. She appears most effective on turf, the surface on which all five of her victories in 2007-2008 have come.

Kentucky Downs concludes its six-day meet Tuesday with a seven-race card.