05/23/2002 11:00PM

Pompeii faces softer opposition

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Pompeii has been mostly dormant since her explosive Grade 1 victory last summer at Saratoga. But Sunday, the 5-year-old mare will make just her second start in seven months when she will be a prohibitive favorite in the feature race at Churchill Downs, a $62,400 allowance at 1 1/16 miles.

Pompeii came to the forefront of the filly-mare division when she won the Grade 1 Personal Ensign, but she finished last in her final start at 4, the Breeders' Cup Distaff. Elliott Walden, who assumed Pompeii's training after she was purchased in September by WinStar Farm, gave her plenty of time off following the Breeders' Cup, taking her to Payson Park for the winter.

Upon returning to the races April 28 at Sportsman's Park, Pompeii finished third as the favorite in the Sixty Sails Handicap, a Grade 3 race that turned out to be very tough. Considering she now has that race behind her - and that her opposition Sunday appears to be less formidable - she should be able to get back on the winning track, under Pat Day.

Miss Pickums, a Grade 2 winner at Churchill at 2, could be the second choice in a field of seven fillies and mares. Miss Pickums has won just once since taking the Golden Rod in November 2000, having been nagged by minor ailments and injuries.

The rest of the field is Miss Kate, Gal on the Go, Faccia Bella, Ting a Folie, and Curve Ahead.

Three other allowance races also are carded for Sunday.

No holiday for juveniles

Churchill will be open Monday because of the Memorial Day holiday, with the $150,000 Kentucky Breeders' Cup Stakes serving as the feature. To replace the dark day, there will be no racing here Wednesday.

The Kentucky BC, a 5 1/2-furlong race for 2-year-olds, is expected to be headed by Posse, the beaten favorite in the Three Chimneys Juvenile on Kentucky Derby Day.

The Three Chimneys winner, Holiday Runner, will run next against fillies in the June 6 Fashion Stakes at Belmont, trainer D. Wayne Lukas said.

Amoss finally wins on dirt

Until he sent out the winners of the first and fourth races here Wednesday, trainer Tom Amoss had compiled quite a disparate record. Amoss had opened the meet by winning with five of his six starters on grass, but was 0 for 17 on the dirt.

That winless streak ended when Noinbetweeners ($3) and Robin de Nest ($4.20) both scored as favorites on the main track.

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