06/23/2008 11:00PM

Quota gearing up for the Spa


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - For the Kentucky horses heading soon to Saratoga, these last couple of weeks of the Churchill Downs spring meet essentially will serve as a dress rehearsal. In the case of Quota, a filly who made a big splash in winning a Saratoga allowance last summer, the Thursday feature at Churchill figures as a critical stepping-stone in how she fares this summer at the Spa.

"She's fit and dialed in," said Al Stall Jr., who trains the homebred Quota for Adele Dilschneider and Claiborne Farm. "Hopefully, she'll come back as good, or better, as she was last year."

Quota, with Robby Albarado to ride, drew the outside post in a field of six fillies and mares in the eighth of nine Thursday races, a $45,200 second-level allowance at six furlongs.

A 4-year-old filly by Seeking the Gold, Quota won a maiden race on closing weekend of the 2007 spring meet at Churchill, then reported home promptly as the 9-5 favorite in a entry-level allowance at Saratoga in her next start when switching trainers from Steve Penrod to Bill Mott. She concluded an abbreviated 3-year-old season by finishing third in the Dream Supreme at Belmont in September, then seventh in the Grade 2 Raven Run at Keeneland in October.

After wintering in Holly Hills, S.C., Quota was sent to Stall at Keeneland in early April.

"She just got a little freshening," Stall said. "She hasn't missed a lick since I got her."

Quota shows a series of sharp works over the Polytrack at Keeneland.

Quota is one of at least four fillies in the Thursday feature trying to further her stature leading into Saratoga. The others are Undercover Angel, trained by Steve Asmussen; Star of Luvina, trained by Eddie Kenneally; and Lenawee, trained by Ian Wilkes.

Of those, Lenawee should take the strongest play. After finishing off the board in three straight maiden races to start her career, the gray filly suddenly came alive, winning at 9-1 on the Keeneland Polytrack in April, then scoring right back at 16-1 for a first-level allowance condition early on the May 3 Kentucky Derby program. In her first crack at this condition, Lenawee was second to Be Golden on June 5.

Tactical Warning and Kristabella complete the lineup.