12/21/2006 12:00AM

Over the Edge wastes no time


The 21-day fall meet at Churchill Downs was the stage for innumerable key races. Even beyond the Breeders' Cup championships and major events such as the Clark Handicap and Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, the meet yielded races that could very well prove to be springboards to greater things.

Such was the case with many of the allowance and maiden special weight races at Churchill, where a first-time starter named Over the Edge made her debut at an overlooked 10-1 on the rainy afternoon of Nov. 16. After breaking a bit tardily from the inside post in a full field of maiden 2-year-old fillies, Over the Edge quickly recovered to reach contention, and after engulfing the lone front-runner in the 6 1/2-furlong race, she proceeded to a 3 3/4-length triumph that earned her an eye-popping Beyer Speed Figure of 98.

Understandably, the connections of Over the Edge were thrilled with that initial effort, and although trainer Rusty Arnold considered taking her to the Palm Meadows Training Center in south Florida before the filly made her next start, she has resurfaced as the heavy favorite for the $50,000 Gowell Stakes, which will be run Saturday for the 21st time at Turfway Park.

Over the Edge, a Thunder Gulch filly bred and owned by G. Watts Humphrey Jr., has trained in recent weeks over the main Polytrack surface at Keeneland, where Arnold's longtime assistant, Jack Bohannan, is overseeing a string of 30 horses while Arnold tends to another 24 at Palm Meadows.

Over the Edge, said Bohannan, "came out of her race super."

"She's worked a couple times since then, nothing real blazing fast, but we didn't want her to," he said. "Coming into this race, I expect her to run well again. This can't be much tougher than a one-other-than allowance, and Mr. Humphrey is real big on black type, so we thought it'd be the right spot to try."

Over the Edge was ridden in her Churchill debut by Rafael Bejarano, who has moved his tack to Florida for the winter. Brice Blanc has assumed the mount for the six-furlong Gowell, which highlights the card as the 11th of 12 races.

If Over the Edge somehow stubs her toe, then the top candidates for an upset probably are Sheets, a sharp maiden winner earlier this month at Turfway, and Taletobetold, an allowance winner in October at Keeneland.