06/12/2007 11:00PM

'Name' horse not best horse


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Fillies and mares with more than a modicum of experience and accomplishment occupy the 10th-race feature slot Friday at Churchill Downs, where some four hours earlier the first allowance race this year for 2-year-olds in Kentucky will be run.

Lemons Forever is the "name" horse in the featured 10th of 11 races on a twilight program that starts at 2:45 p.m. Eastern, but the 4-year-old filly remains winless since capturing the 2006 Kentucky Oaks at record odds of 47-1. Trainer Dallas Stewart continues to insist that Lemons Forever is better than her eight-race losing streak suggests and that she is sitting on a breakthrough. Many horseplayers are skeptical, however, and she figures as only a middling wagering choice when eight females clash Friday at 1 1/16 miles on the turf for a $55,000 purse.

The favorite figures to be Honey Rose, an Argentine-bred mare who most recently was second behind Mauralakana in a similar turf allowance. Based locally with Michael McCarthy, the Churchill assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher, Honey Rose will be ridden by Rafael Bejarano and breaks from posto4.

Other logical contenders include Superb Ravi - who figured to need her latest race, the 12th race on the May 5 Kentucky Derby program, when she faded to finish fifth - and Moon Berry, who has been bouncing around between stakes and high-allowance level company.

Earlier, the second race of the day marks the first opportunity at the allowance level for 2-year-olds in Kentucky. Designed as a prep for the $100,000 Debutante Stakes, the $50,000 race drew seven 2-year-old fillies, with American County, entered off a maiden victory that earned a 95 Beyer Speed Figure, likely to be favored.

American County, with Jamie Theriot to ride, drew the outside post in the five-furlong race.

"She's an awfully fast horse," said her trainer, Dale Romans. "I like that she drew the outside hole, where you're less likely to find trouble."

Sky Mom and Elocution, an uncoupled pair trained by Steve Asmussen, look like the main rivals for American County.

The six-furlong Debutante is part of a twin package of 2-year-old stakes on the last Saturday of the spring meet, on July 7, along with the $150,000 Bashford Manor Stakes, a six-furlong race for colts and geldings. An allowance prep for the Bashford Manor also was scheduled this week but did not draw a sufficient number of entries when it was twice posted by the Churchill racing office.