10/06/2003 12:00AM

A rare stakes-less program


LEXINGTON, Ky. - In the spring at Keeneland, every program includes at least one stakes. In the fall, there are 19 stakes scattered over 17 days, but because some are grouped together on the same day, three fall programs are stakes-less.

Wednesday is one of those, but not to worry. Four straight allowance races, worth a Keeneland-esque total of $214,000, should provide sufficient high-end racing entertainment for an afternoon. The allowances have been saved as the proverbial best-for-last by being carded as the sixth through ninth on a nine-race program.

That four-race stretch begins with what amounts to an interesting display of trial-and-error among a relatively inexperienced group of 2-year-old fillies. Much of the sixth-race field has done little or no racing over the grass and/or at two turns, so most handicappers will be applying their best guesswork toward the $52,000, one-mile turf race. One decent guess would be Allamerican Beauty, a Phil Thomas-trained filly who won her career debut before faring respectably in the Ellis Debutante and Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies.

The seventh race, a 1 1/8-mile entry-level allowance that drew 10 fillies and mares, seems similarly well matched. One of the more live prospects may be Skipamiss, whose trainer, Joan Scott, upset the Kelso Breeders' Cup Handicap last Saturday at Belmont Park with Freefourinternet. Skipamiss would do well to return to the form that yielded a maiden victory in the spring at Churchill Downs.

The nominal feature is the eighth race, a $56,000, third-level allowance at 1 1/16 miles. Ole Faunty, Bay Eagle, Kodema, and Colonial Colony probably belong in the first division of contenders in the field of eight 3-year-olds and upward.

Like the other three allowances on the card, the ninth and last race also will be run around two turns. It is a $54,000 turf race that drew yet another competitive-looking field. Peacefally, with Pat Day to ride for Elliott Walden, might be the slight favorite following her recent effort in the Kentucky Cup Ladies, but a handful of others could provide a stern challenge in the 1 1/16-mile, second-level allowance, most notably Kernitre, Achnasheen, and La Reason.

Stakes action resumes here Thursday with the $100,000 Perryville Stakes for 3-year-olds. The highlight of the week comes Saturday with the 20th running of the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup.