08/10/2006 11:00PM

Queen City Oaks goes again, minus favorite


The 1 1/8-mile Queen City Oaks - take 2 - will be run Sunday at River Downs. The first version was held on July 22, when a starting-gate malfunction left half of the field momentarily stranded behind stall doors that failed to open on time, while the others got a head start.

River Downs stewards had a choice of declaring the affected fillies non-starters, thereby letting the results stand, or declaring the race a no-contest. Perhaps because the Oaks, worth $100,000, is the most prestigious race of the year for Ohio-bred 3-year-old fillies, the stewards opted to declare the race a no-contest. The Ohio State Racing Commission concurred with that decision two days later, and rescheduled the Oaks.

Only the original entrants were allowed to re-enter Sunday's race. Eleven fillies accepted the invitation, but noticeably absent is Cryptoquip, whose 11 3/4-length demolition of the first Oaks field was obviously not a true reflection of her or her rivals' talent - but might not have been entirely wide of the mark, either. Instead of running here, Cryptoquip's trainer, Tom Proctor, who was not happy with the no-contest decision, is pointing her to next weekend's $100,000 Arlington Oaks.

With Cryptoquip not running, the question of who is the best Ohio-bred 3-year-old filly will remain unanswered even after the Oaks is rerun.

Though disappointed with the stewards' decision, Cryptoquip's connections will be represented in a maiden race on the Sunday card by Montfort Lane, a 2-year-old Ohio-bred filly.

The Oaks still has the potential to be a good race, with favoritism likely to fall on Tommeyesgold, who started as second choice last time to the odds-on Cryptoquip. Tommeyesgold was one of those affected by the gate malfunction, and she was so far behind after a half-mile that jockey Rodney Prescott did not persevere with her. That should leave her a fresher filly than some of her rivals who ran all-out and got nothing for their efforts.

Stone Lakes and Sybles Angel, the two-three finishers from the first Oaks, might prove their original placings were not flukes. Stone Lakes figures to be forwardly placed, and Sybles Angel also has good tracking speed. The concern with Sybles Angel, however, is that she comes back just a week after facing males in the Horizon Stakes, where she finished fifth.

Others to watch for are Money Card, a front-runner, and Fight Girl, who is ideally bred to get nine furlongs. Sarah Jane and Luvaprivate were also entered in Saturday's Vivacious Handicap on turf, a seemingly better spot for both.