11/22/2004 12:00AM

With Patience likely to exit with a victory


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Before skipping town for the winter, horsemen always are in favor of having a chance to make a little shipping money. Churchill Downs is only too happy to comply as usual this fall, as plenty of lucrative opportunities await horsemen during the final four-day stretch that closes the 21-day fall meet.

Beginning Wednesday, when three allowance races worth a total of nearly $190,000 anchor a 10-race card, Churchill will stage a steady supply of first-class racing. Not only is this what the track calls its "Big Four" weekend, with the Falls City, Clark, Kentucky Jockey Club, and Golden Rod as the major attractions, but all four programs will be augmented with a number of allowance and other high-end races.

That means virtually every good horse who hasn't run within the past couple of weeks or so should have a crack at "getting out." So, too, horseplayers will have plenty of chances to carve out a profitable ending for themselves.

The three allowances on Wednesday are carded consecutively, beginning with the seventh race. All of them have a deep, well-matched look.

The seventh race, worth $68,300, is the richest of the three. For fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on turf, the race drew , a winner of two restricted stakes this year and an earner of more than $300,000 in 24 starts. Owned and trained by Elizabeth Merryman, With Patience figures as the one to beat, with Mymich and Fun House as logical challengers.

The eighth race, a $59,200 allowance with an optional-claiming provision, drew the Richard Duchossois entry of , either of whom would rate as a deserving favorite. Apt to Be figures particularly strong at this level, having already knocked out $400,000-plus in a yeoman career in which he has been first or second in 19 of 30 starts.

The ninth race, a $60,400, third-level allowance for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on turf, appears to be as wide open as a race gets. may be a lukewarm choice in a big cast, but only in large part because she has Hall of Fame connections in trainer Jonathan Sheppard and jockey Pat Day.

Wednesday is the last card of the meet with a first post of 12:40 p.m. Eastern. The last three programs all start at 11:30 a.m. Eleven races are scheduled for Thursday, and 12 each for Friday and Saturday.