11/24/2005 1:00AM

Private Vow tough off Futurity romp


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - One need look no further than the Churchill Downs fall meet for proof that all good things must end. Easily the finest racing in North America during the last four weeks has taken place right here, and the exclamation point on that declaration will come Saturday with a terrific closing-day card centered on the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes.

Eight 2-year-olds were entered in the $200,000 KJC Stakes, with the probable favorite being , who drew post 3 for the 1 1/16-mile race. Private Vow, who had a legitimate excuse when a rein broke before he was eased to finish last of 14 in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, was a nine-length winner of the Grade 2 Futurity at Belmont in his previous start.

Off that race, he surely would take plenty of beating, although several opponents appear capable of a minor upset, including Catcominatcha and High Cotton, the respective one-two finishers in the Iroquois Stakes here three weeks ago.

, trained by Eddie Kenneally, refused to be denied when he overcame a tough trip in winning the Iroquois under a sterling ride from Rafael Bejarano. High Cotton opened daylight after turning for home in the Iroquois and appeared on his way to victory before Catcominatcha shook free from traffic and ran him down in the final yards.

Interestingly, Bejarano gets off Catcominatcha to ride Great Point for one of his main clients, trainer Nick Zito, in the KJC, while Kenneally has chosen veteran Bill Troilo to ride Catcominatcha.

, by Point Given, brings some puzzling form from New York. As good as he was in winning his career debut at Belmont on Oct. 9, he was equally bad in getting drubbed in his lone subsequent start, the Grade 3 Nashua nearly three weeks later.

The rest of the KJC field is Red Raymond, International Cat, Hyte Regency, and Carse.

The KJC long has been a potential preview of the following year's Kentucky Derby, having produced such standouts as Cannonade (1973) and The Cliff's Edge (2003). The 2004 winner was Greater Good, trained by Bob Holthus and ridden by John McKee.

The KJC is the 11th of 12 races on a Saturday program that also includes the Grade 2 Golden Rod Stakes (race 9), the Dream Supreme overnight handicap (race 11), and five allowances (races 4, 5, 7, 8, and 12). First post is 11:30 a.m. Eastern.