06/18/2009 12:00AM

Pay the Man carries 124 at Thistledown


The $50,000 J. William Petro Memorial Stakes here Saturday has drawn a strong field of 10 Ohio-bred fillies and mares, including three state champions from last year and another from 2007.

Pay the Man, Ohio's handicap mare of the year in 2008, is the highweight in the six-furlong Petro at 124 pounds and will be spotting from 4 to 13 pounds to her rivals. She has won 12 of her 30 career starts and has earned $433,685.

In her last trip to the post, Pay the Man finished third in the six-furlong Ohio Valley Handicap at Mountaineer Park on May 26. Before that she won the Angenora Stakes here on May 2 going the same distance. Her other win from four starts this year came in a seven-furlong allowance at Tampa Bay Downs.

Pay the Man's trainer, Miguel Feliciano, will also run Pyrite Gem. Both horses are Pyrite Stable homebreds, but they will run as separate interests. These two have raced against each other three times, with Pay the Man winning all three and Pyrite Gem finishing second twice and third once. Pyrite Gem is at her best going around two turns.

"Both are doing very well," Feliciano said. "Pay the Man is training good and doesn't have a pimple on her.

"The weight? I think she'll be okay."

Ricardo Feliciano, the trainer's nephew, is named to ride both horses.

Slides Choice, one of two 3-year-olds in the race, is primed to try older horses. She was the Ohio champion 2-year-old last year. She has won four stakes from seven career starts and was fourth in the one-mile Dogwood at Churchill Downs in her last start on May 30.

"This might be too soon, with Pay the Man in there," said trainer Tim Hamm, "but my filly is pretty solid herself."

The other 3-year-old filly in the race is Yankee Cruz, a Jevon Crumley trainee who has won 3 of her 5 starts. Her lone defeats were runner-up finishes in the Royal North and Miss Ohio stakes.

"She's yet to go long," Crumley said. "I know the field is tough, but we finished second to Slides Choice in two stakes."