06/17/2010 12:00AM

Ohio rivals meet for fifth time


Round five of the ongoing battle to be Ohio's leading lady takes place Saturday at Thistledown when 2009 Ohio horse of the year Slides Choice faces Pay the Man in the $50,000 William J. Petro Memorial Handicap.

If Pay the Man, a multiple stakes winner with earnings of $551,131, should win, her $30,000 share of the purse would put her within $1,899 of Tougaloo's earnings record for an Ohio-bred filly or mare of $583,030.

Slides Choice, a winner of 8 of 18 lifetime starts, has earned $387,965. At 4, she is two years younger than Pay the Man.

Pay the Man, a Pyrite Stables homebred, has finished ahead of Slides Choice in three of their four meetings, but Slides Choice won a stretch duel to get up by a nose when they met in last year's Best of Ohio Distaff.

Pay the Man and Slides Choice have faced each other once this year, when both were beaten by Pyrite Gem, a stablemate of Pay the Man, in the six-furlong Angenora Stakes on May 1. Pay the Man finished second, three lengths in front of Slides Choice.

Pay the Man should appreciate the added distance of Saturday's 1 1/16-mile race.

"She is doing real good," trainer Angel Feliciano said. "I look for a good race. She likes distance racing more than dash racing."

Tim Hamm, who trains Slides Choice, said "She runs hard. With two starts each at Gulfstream and Keeneland this year, we have faced some of the better horses in the country."

Of the others in the seven-horse field, Gathering Dreams, winner of the six-furlong T.F. Classen Memorial stakes on May 22, appears to have the best chance at the upset. She is 2 for 2 at the distance and has the speed to be well placed.